AUGUSTA — The Maine Warden Service helped host the International Visitor Leadership Program for the second year in a row.

A group of eight from Mozambique, Africa, visited with leadership in the Maine Warden Service for the day as part of their larger tour of the U.S. The group included two chief game wardens, a district prosecutor, a judicial magistrate (judge), an assistant attorney general, a journalist and others.

The group is in the U.S. as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, a program started by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. This program was arranged by the World Affairs Council of Maine, Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., and the Maine Warden Service.

The visit began with an overview of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife by Commissioner Chandler Woodcock and Game Warden Col. Joel Wilkinson. After, the group visited the Maine Law Enforcement Officer Memorial, took a tour of the State House and met with Gov. Paul LePage and Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Committee Chairman Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville.

After lunch, Chief District Court Judge Charles C. LaVerdier and Penobscot County District Attorney Chris Almy met with the group to discuss their roles in Maine’s judicial process.

The afternoon wrapped up with an overview of the Maine Operation Game Thief Program, a private, nonprofit organization that works with the Maine Warden Service to pay rewards to citizens who turn in poachers.

During their stay and travel in the U.S., the objectives include an assessment of efforts to deter poaching and trafficking of wildlife resources through wildlife protection policies, law enforcement and criminal prosecution. They will explore nongovernmental organizations that promote and support wildlife protection and discourage consumer demand. Additionally, the group will examine the harmful impact of international wildlife trafficking on political, economic, environmental and social stability.

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