The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce Lieutenant Specialist Trevor Pell as the 2022 Wildlife Officer of the Year.
A recent adjudication for a complex investigation is an example of Lt. Pell’s capabilities that earned him the nomination. In July of 2019, Pell followed up on a tip about unlawful non-native abalone trafficking out of Los Angeles. Wildlife officers discovered live non-native abalone were being unlawfully sold at a Los Angeles market. They purchased specimens from the market and confirmed they were non-native disk abalone. As lead investigator, Lt. Pell determined at least 797 non-native disk abalone were illegally imported through Los Angeles International Airport from South Korea without a restricted species permit.
All non-native abalone species are prohibited from importation into California to avoid the introduction of an exotic species to local waters and the diseases they potentially carry that could affect native populations, including the endangered white and black abalone. In March of 2023, the case adjudicated and resulted in more than $174,000 in civil penalties with a $20,000 payment to the Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters (CalTIP) reward fund. The case is just one example of Lt. Pell’s many outstanding investigations.
Lt. Pell’s expertise in restricted and exotic species laws has also contributed to cases involving illegal importation or possession of wildlife ranging from Chinese mitten crab to rattlesnakes to a capybara. His commitment to ensuring exotic animals receive an appropriate level of care by restricted species permit holders has positively affected the animals living in those facilities.
Lt. Pell is thorough, detailed and determined in his pursuit of justice. He is a considered a reliable resource by district attorneys and city attorneys, federal prosecutors, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement, and wildlife officers from other states. His pursuit of civil fines and penalties has contributed to the wildlife preservation fund and the CalTIP program.
“Selecting a Wildlife Officer of the Year out of California’s extraordinarily dedicated wildlife officers is one of my most difficult but rewarding duties,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Lt. Pell’s commitment to excellence in wildlife law enforcement represents the best in our division.”
Lt. Pell is a resource to fellow CDFW wildlife officers as he is frequently contacted as a subject matter expert for restrictive species, falconry, wildlife trafficking, ports/illegal importation enforcement and broadly as a wildlife officer in general. He continually works to push the boundaries of his already advanced capabilities.
These qualities have contributed to Lt. Pell being named the 2022 CDFW Wildlife Officer of the Year and CDFW congratulates him.