Le Lézard
Classified in: Environment
Subjects: LAW, ENI, ANW

An Ontario taxidermist fined $60,000 after violating federal wildlife law for unlawful polar bear exports

OSHAWA, ON, Sept. 12, 2023 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canadian and foreign species of wild animals and plants that are, or may be, at risk due to unsustainable or illegal trade.

On September 12, 2023, Cyril D'Souza, an Ontario taxidermist, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Oshawa to two counts of violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). D'Souza was fined a total of $60,000, which will be directed to the Government of Canada's Environmental Damages Fund. In addition, the Court ordered D'Souza to forfeit one full polar bear mount and two hides or rugs.

In the summer of 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada wildlife enforcement officers launched an investigation when they discovered inconsistent information in the export permits used to export a polar bear mount and two hides from Ontario to China. Under WAPPRIITA, exporters must obtain a permit before exporting regulated species from Canada. The investigation revealed that D'Souza was deceptive and planned extensively in intentionally providing false and misleading information to obtain the permit, contrary to section 11 of WAPPRIITA.   

Environment and Climate Change Canada wildlife enforcement officers carried out the investigation, which was based in part on the three-pronged approach for polar bear conservation and management. The approach identifies and tracks legal polar bear hides once they enter trade, ensuring exporters comply with the regulations related to trade and transport. The three elements of the approach include: analyzing the muscle tissue DNA, analyzing the stable isotope of fur samples, and inserting encrypted microchips to track polar bear parts from harvest through export. The collaboration with law enforcement agencies in Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and in the United States was key in the investigation.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

Quick facts

Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) to anonymously report wildlife crime. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000 from Crime Stoppers.

Associated links

Environment and Climate Change Canada's Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada's Facebook page

SOURCE Environment and Climate Change Canada

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