Alaskan outfitter faces bans, $20,000 fine and forfeiture of trophies

Environment Canada reports that, on May 8, 2015, an outfitter was fined $20,000 in Yukon Territorial Court after pleading guilty to illegally importing and exporting wildlife, which are offences under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). The fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

The outfitter from Haines, Alaska, pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of an Alaskan brown bear (grizzly bear) hide, two black bear hides and three wolverine hides, all of which had been imported or transported in contravention of WAPPRIITA. Under the law, it is prohibited to import an animal that was taken in contravention of the laws of another state and it is prohibited to transport an animal without a required provincial authorization or where the animal was possessed, distributed or transported in contravention of provincial legislation.

The accused also pleaded guilty to the illegal export of two Dall sheep from Yukon, the export of moose meat without a permit to Alaska, as well as the illegal transport of a Yukon grizzly bear hide to Alberta.

In addition to the $20,000 fine, the accused n received a ten year prohibition from carrying a firearm and accompanying anyone hunting in the Yukon, with a condition allowing him to hunt with a bow for subsistence beginning in 2020.

The accused was also required to forfeit several hunting trophies, namely a Dall sheep (full body mount), a moose head and antler (shoulder mount), and a raw grizzly bear hide. He is also banned for ten years from obtaining any Yukon export permits or any import or export permits.

The import and export of all species of bear are controlled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which is an international agreement, that Canada signed onto on July 3, 1975, to regulate, or in some cases to prohibit, trade in specific species of wild animals and plants, as well as their respective parts and derivatives.

Environment Canada is the lead agency responsible for CITES implementation in Canada. WAPPRIITA is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada. Under Canadian law, any CITES-listed wildlife imported into Canada, exported from Canada, or attempted to be exported without the required permits may be subject to seizure and forfeiture, and those responsible may be liable to prosecution.

WAPPRIITA also controls the import, export and transport of non-CITES Canadian domestic wildlife species, such as moose, Dall sheep and wolverines.

The investigation focusing on Mr. Martin was led by Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch and Environment Yukon. It represents one element of Operation Bruin, an extensive three year multi-agency international investigation into the illegal hunting of Alaskan wildlife. Environment Canada, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Alberta Fish & Wildlife, and Environment Yukon collaborated on the investigation.

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