Eagle Poaching Investigation Results in Charges

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After a 15-month investigation by British Columbia’s Conservation Officer Service (COS), charges have now been laid against 11 individuals for possession and trafficking in dead wildlife:

James Carl JOSEPH of Vancouver has been charged with a total of 21 counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife, trafficking in dead wildlife and unlawful export of wildlife. First appearance is June 15 in Surrey Provincial Court.

Gary ABBOTT of Chilliwack has been charged with a total of eight counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife and trafficking in dead wildlife. First appearance is June 20 in Chilliwack Provincial Court.

Ralph LEON of Chehalis has been charged with a total of 10 counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife and trafficking in dead wildlife. First appearance is June 20 in Chilliwack Provincial Court.

Reynold COLLINS of Chilliwack has been charged with a total of six counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife and trafficking in dead wildlife. First appearance is June 20 in Chilliwack Provincial Court.

David Essary BILL of Sidney has been charged with a total of eight counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife and trafficking in dead wildlife.

Wesley FRANCIS of Chehalis has been charged with a total of six counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife, hunting wildlife during the closed season and trafficking in dead wildlife. First appearance is June 20 in Chilliwack Provincial Court.

Thomas Lawrence SHAW of Chehalis has been charged with a total of two counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife and trafficking in dead wildlife. First appearance is June 20 in Chilliwack Provincial Court.

Francis JAMES of Vancouver has been charged with a total of four counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife and trafficking in dead wildlife.

William Michael VISSER of Langley has been charged with a total of eight counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife and trafficking in dead wildlife. First appearance June 22 is Chilliwack Provincial Court.

Jerome Richard SEYMOUR of Duncan has been charged with a total of 27 counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife, hunting wildlife during the closed season and trafficking in dead wildlife. First appearance is June 19 in Duncan Provincial Court.

William Arthur SEYMOUR of Brentwood Bay has been charged with a total five counts alleging unlawful possession of dead wildlife, hunting wildlife during the closed season and trafficking in dead wildlife. First appearance is June 19 in Duncan Provincial Court.

The investigation began in February 2005 when the remains of 50 eagles were found in North Vancouver. The Conservation Officer Service undertook the investigation with support from the Canadian Wildlife Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the RCM police, Vancouver Police Department and agencies in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

The Conservation Officer Service wishes to acknowledge the support received from the Tseil-Waututh First Nation and Squamish First Nation, as well as the public who provided numerous tips that aided the investigation.

Under the Province’s Wildlife Act, penalties for poaching can be as high as $50,000 for a first offence or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both for each count. Penalties for trafficking eagle parts can be as high at $100,000 for a first offence or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both for each count.

Under federal legislation for illegal export, penalties under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of the International and Interprovincial Trade Act can be as high as $150,000 and accompany up to five years imprisonment.

The unregulated harvest of any wildlife population has the potential for causing significant impacts. Anyone with information about this case or any other poaching or polluting violation is urged to contact the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). Violations can also be reported to the RAPP website at www.rapp.bc.ca. All tips are confidential.