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Border bust on exotic animals

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
May 14th, 2012

An ongoing investigation was triggered with the seizure of endangered exotic frogs, arachnids and invertebrates at the Carson border crossing last month.

The seizure was made on Apr. 11 by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) when officers examined a shipment being transported by a Canadian and found animals listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“CBSA officers initially detained the animals on Environment Canada’s behalf. We have since identified and seized all of the animals. They are being kept in a professional care facility pending the results of our investigation,” said John Wong, regional director of wildlife enforcement for Environment Canada’s Pacific and Yukon Region.

Wong would not comment if there had been charges laid because of the investigation. Although the animals were listed under CITES, there are permits available for importing certain animals.

“The importer did not have an import or export document as required by CITES, Environment Canada and U.S. Fish and Wildlife,” explained Faith St. John, communications advisor for CBSA. “The animals were held and Environment Canada was contacted.”

CITES was created in 1975 to prevent over-exploitation and illegal poaching of wildlife species. It is administered by Environment Canada under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

The agreement sets controls on the international trade and movement of over 30,000 animal and plant species that are or may be threatened due to excessive commercial exploitation (http://www.ec.gc.ca/cites/).

Penalties for failing to declare may include fines and prosecution.

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