Many people believe that wildlife deserves justice every bit as much as humans do. This is why some people choose to concentrate their careers in wildlife justice after earning a criminal justice degree. Some of them have teamed up to establish the Federal Wildlife Officers Association (FWOA). Read more to learn about what FWOA does for wildlife, membership information, and how FWOA stays alive.
See our ranking of the 50 Best Value Colleges for a Criminal Justice Degree.
The Federal Wildlife Officers Association is first and foremost a nonprofit organization. This means that all funding goes directly to its services. FWOA aims to protect all wildlife from criminal activities committed by humans. This includes illegal hunting, fishing, poaching, and gaming, as well as advanced initiatives to protect endangered species and their habitats. While it is based in the United States, FWOA teams up with officials from across the globe to protect wildlife worldwide. Services include legal actions against perpetrators, rescue and aid initiatives, and activism events. They also work to educate the public on wildlife conservation and protection, from speaking at schools and organizations to putting on large-scale events.
All law enforcement officers serving in the wildlife sector, as well as all state comrades, are invited to join FWOA on a professional level. Annual membership fees are $40 for Officers and $25 for Comrades. Members of the public who wish to participate in FWOA's initiatives and are able to contribute a monetary donation will also be granted access to some of FWOA's features. The work that Officers and Comrades accomplish through FWOA would not be possible without the care and donations of supporting members of the public.
How to Become an Officer or Comrade
People interested in dedicating their careers to wildlife criminal justice, and joining FWOA in a professional capacity, are encouraged to take the following steps. For the first step, one option is to gain at least a year of work experience in either law enforcement or natural resources. Another option is to graduate from a four-year program with a natural resource management, natural sciences, park and recreation science, or criminal justice degree. The age limit for applying for these roles is 37 years.
One must then pass the Physical Efficiency Battery. This test includes a 1.5 mile run, bench press tests, an agility run, sit and reach measurement of flexibility, and a body composition scan of body fat percentage. Caring for wildlife as a Federal Wildlife Officer involves a great deal of physically intense activities. The next step is to complete training courses at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, as well as advanced wildlife officer training at the National Conservation Training Center in Sheperdstown, West Virginia. Professionals in any career working directly with nature or wildlife at the state level may become state comrade members.
The world's wildlife is both precious and vulnerable. The majority of the threats to wildlife come from human error, crime, and even everyday activity. Fortunately, there are many people out there who have built their careers around protecting wildlife. The Federal Wildlife Officers Association is helping them make an even larger impact.