SALT LAKE CITY — Wildlife officers are encouraging everyone in Utah to download a new app to their cell phones.
The app is called UTDWR, and it's available for both iOS and Android devices. It was created by Citizen Observer, an organization that provides internet-based communication systems that allow people to report wildlife crimes quickly and easily in a text message format.
The new app is already paying off in the state's fight against poaching.
"Two buck deer were poached recently in Millard County," said Captain Wyatt Bubak with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "We got word out through our social media channels and a news release. It didn't take long before two solid tips came in via the new app. Those tips have been very helpful in moving the case forward."
The new app is the perfect way to provide information while staying completely anonymous. Citizen Observer will scrub your message of all identifying information, including your IP address. By the time officers get your text, it will have no identifying information in it.
"It isn't required, but we do encourage people to share their name and a way to contact them," Bubak said. "Many of our cases take weeks, months or even years to investigate. By providing some contact information, we're able to follow up with you in case we need more information."
If you choose to share your contact information, officers routinely work with members of the public to keep reported and personal information confidential.
Bubak says calling the DWR's Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline — at 1-800-662-3337 — is still the quickest way to get in contact with an officer when reporting a wildlife crime, especially a crime that's in progress.
"The new app is also a great way to let us know about a wildlife crime," he said. "It's another tool in our toolbox. We hope its ease of use will allow more of the public to join us in the fight against poaching here in Utah."