Did you know …It’s illegal to remove cicadas (or any other insects or animals) from state parks

A close-up look at a cicada. Stock photo.

TINA L. SCOTT
EDITOR

A recent press release from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds state park visitors that it is illegal to remove any insects or other animals from state park properties unless you are hunting or fishing with a permit to do so. While cicadas are largely confined to the southern part of our state, all the recent “buzz” about the simultaneous emergence of both 13- and 17-year cycle cicadas within the U.S. (an event that is said to happen only once every 221 years) has prompted a great interest in the sometimes noisy insects. That recent fascination has also led to park visitors collecting the insects, which is against the law. (Did you know some people even eat them, referring to cicadas as “tree shrimp” and cooking them similarly, while others eat chocolate-covered cicadas?)
Multiple reports of people harvesting cicadas at Big Foot Beach State Park in Walworth County prompted the DNR to craft their release, reminding park visitors that “state law prohibits the capture and removal of animals, including insects, from state park properties.”
“There are exceptions for hunting and fishing activities that are otherwise authorized by law,” the release said, “but these exceptions do not provide for the collection and removal of cicadas.”
“DNR park staff and wardens have been instructed to make efforts to first educate the public on cicadas in state parks, and wardens may take enforcement action in response to violations,” the release said.

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