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Texas officials offer $2K to report poaching of threatened prehistoric-like reptile

The Texas Parks Wildlife Department has doubled the reward to $2,000 for those who offer a tip about someone poaching the threatened alligator snapping turtle.

If you report someone for poaching alligator snapping turtles, you could take home a sizeable sum of cash.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) was previously rewarding up to $1,000 to people who reported poaching of the threatened species.

The TPWD recently announced that it will double the reward up to $2,000 if "the tip leads to convictions for snapping turtle cases," thanks to an increase in funds through the agency's Conservation License Plate Program, the TPWD shared in a press release.

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Alligator snapping turtles are listed as a threatened species and harvesting the turtles is illegal in the state of Texas, the TPWD continued.

Poaching reports for the species go through the Operation Game Thief (OGT).

"The high survivorship and long lives of adults makes populations of alligator snapping turtles very sensitive to the removal of even a small number of breeding adults," Paul Crump, TPWD's herpetologist, said in the release.

"That is why Texas prohibited collection of this species back in the ’80s and why we need the help of Texans who work and spend time on the rivers in East Texas to reduce poaching," he added. "We want to keep this species around to help maintain our healthy rivers and streams."

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Alligator snapping turtles are freshwater turtles that span from Texas to Florida and can be found as far north as Ohio, the TWPD stated.

The prehistoric-looking turtle can be identified by its spiked shell that somewhat resembles an alligator.

For the past 22 years, the TPWD's Conservation License Plate program has raised nearly $11.6 million that goes towards the funding of a variety of wildlife activities, conservation and research.

The OGT was founded in 1981 after a variety of laws were passed by the 67th Legislature in Texas in order to reduce the amount of poaching throughout the state.

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The agency's program has "been responsible for the raising and distribution of funds used to pay rewards, purchase equipment and provide services to aid Texas Game Wardens since its inception," the TPWD reported.

Reporters can make an anonymous tip to assist game wardens in hopes of preserving those species that are considered to be more "at-risk."

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"OGT is proud to be part of a concerted effort, along with the TPWD Wildlife Division and the Conservation License Plate Program, to give at-risk species the spotlight they deserve in return for the value they hold to Texas, its citizens and visitors," Stormy King, assistant commander of wildlife enforcement, stated in the media release.

"With funds provided by this effort, we were recently able to match a $1,000 OGT reward and deliver $2,000 to an anonymous caller who helped convict a turtle poacher. Hopefully, word gets out."

If you spot an alligator snapping turtle in Texas, the TPWD requests a photo be captured of the turtle and uploaded to the agency's tracking website.

Fox News Digital reached out to the TPWD for comment.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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