Large fine for smuggling items made of endangered species

Environment Canada has issued a $75,000 fine to a woman who pled guilty to two counts of violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).

The WAPPRIITA, which is a regulation made under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, is the mechanism through which Canada implements its obligations under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The woman’s luggage was searched by Canada Border Services Agency officers at the Vancouver International Airport. They uncovered numerous items, including pendants, bracelets, carvings, chopsticks, and ornaments, made from animal species protected under CITES, including elephants, lion, rhino, and hawksbill turtle.

Along with the fine, the woman is barred from importing into Canada any times made with CITES-listed species for two years. All of the items seized from her luggage were forfeited.

We’ve written about the illicit international trade in endangered species, and international efforts to prevent it, on prior occasions. This lucrative and illegal activity has had, and continues to have, a devastating impact upon global biodiversity.

The federal government appears to be stepping up its efforts to enforce the WAPPRIITA, with a number of convictions and large fines in recent months.