Former President of the OACS, Dave Forster, now President of the Canadian Association of Crime Stoppers, attended the Crime Stoppers International (CSI) Conference in Trinidad October of 2016. At this conference Crime Stoppers Ontario Association was awarded the first ever Community Partnership Environmental Award in CSI history. Recognized were the Toronto Zoo, OACS and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for their ongoing work raising awareness of the illegal wildlife trade in Canada, focusing on the illegal harvest and trade of turtles. Wildlife trafficking crimes are on par with the illegal trade in guns, drugs and people, and are estimated to be worth as much as $30 billion a year.
On Thursday, 2016-01-19 Dave Forster, President of The Canadian Association of Crime Stoppers and Paula Norlock, Provincial Enforcement Specialist, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Enforcement Branch presented John Tracogna, Chief Executive Officer Toronto Zoo with the award. Joining Mr. Tracogna for the presentation were Dr. Andrew Lentini, Curator Reptiles and Amphibians and Cassandra Thompson, Multimedia Marketing Coordinator at the Toronto Zoo.
Since 2015, the Toronto Zoo and OACS have worked side by side through an innovative advertising campaign, which focuses on the illegal harvest and trade of turtles. This initiative is aimed at educating and encouraging individuals to help put an end to this disturbing crime. Endangered animals and plants, like our Blanding’s turtles, are often the target of wildlife crime because of their rarity and increased economic value. The illegal trade in wildlife can have devastating impacts on the sustainability of wildlife populations.