Saving osprey, rescuing orphaned raccoons, making sure boaters are being safe, checking on hunters and educating visitors to the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex… National Wildlife Refuge System Federal Wildlife Officer Richard Bare accomplishes a lot in a typical day at work.
“My typical day? There is no typical day!” laughs Officer Bare. “Our mission is to help and protect the resource. One of my favorite things to do is talk with people and educate visitors to the refuge. I think as a federal wildlife officer, that’s one of the most important things I do.”
Officer Bare received a call that these baby raccoons were orphaned after their mother was hit by a car. He transported them to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
Officer Bare has been awarded the Pacific Region 2012 Federal Wildlife Officer of the Year. This award recognizes an officer for outstanding achievement in the field of conservation law enforcement.
Officer Bare has often gone above and beyond his duty and places a high priority on partnering with local agencies. According to Bare, much of his work is a team effort and depends on successful partnerships with other law enforcement agencies.
In an commendation letter from the Kennewick Police Department to Officer Bare regarding help on a particularly dangerous case,
“Without the assistance from members or your agency, this situation could have easily escalated and placed the abducted child in grave danger. We are fortunate to have such great partners and look forward to working in collaboration with your agency for many years to come.”
Officer Bare said he was surprised and humbled to be recognized with the award for a job that he loves to do.
You could say that the hardest part of Officer Bare’s day is waking up in the morning and deciding in which direction to drive.
“There is so much land and water on the refuges; we have a lot of opportunity to make contact with boaters, anglers and hunters for everything from ducks to big game,” said Bare.
There is also lots of opportunity to help wildlife in crisis. Osprey often get caught in bailing twine and fishing line that is not thrown away properly and left as litter. They use the twine in their nests and it gets wrapped around their talons, wings and beaks. These beautiful birds of prey can die of starvation without the ability to feed themselves. Officer Bare recently responded to a call about one such osprey, who was caught in its nest, wrapped in bailing twine. He responded quickly, freeing the bird and clearing the nest of the remaining twine.
Officer Bare successfully released the osprey who was wrapped in twine.
According to Officer Bare’s supervisors, “His passion and abilities in making cases for the protection of our nation’s wildlife resources has earned him the respect and admiration of the Wildlife Officers of the National Wildlife Refuge System and with our accompanying state and local partners. He has taken the wildlife enforcement cases to new levels of investigation by tracking potential violators on land and through cyberspace.”
From saving wildlife to using sound investigation techniques to catch criminals, Officer Bare’s work is a great example of the high standards of the NWRS Division of Law Enforcement.
The NWRS’s Division of Law Enforcement investigates wildlife crimes, regulates wildlife trade, helps Americans understand and obey wildlife protections laws, and works in partnership with international, state, and tribal counterparts to conserve wildlife resources.
Federal wildlife officers are federal police officers and enforce laws that stem from the Endangered Species Act, the Lacey Act, and the Refuge Administration Act, as well as other state and federal laws.
“I’ve always wanted to be a conservation law enforcement officer,” said Bare. “This is right where I’ve always wanted to be.”
Officer Bare stands next to the Klickitat River in south-central Washington.
By Megan Nagel