Alberta-based taxidermist sentenced for violations of federal wildlife law

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

January 22, 2019 – Lethbridge, Alberta

Enforcing Canadian environmental and wildlife laws is one important way that Environment and Climate Change Canada is taking action to protect wildlife and nature.

On January 18, 2019, Fredrick Thomson (from Coaldale, Alberta) was sentenced in the Provincial Court of Alberta following his conviction on October 26, 2018, for two counts of illegally importing into Canada and possessing a black bear hide from the United States (Alaska). Thomson was sentenced to pay $20,000 for violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. The penalty will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. Thomson was required to forfeit the hide seized during the investigation.

In addition to the fine and forfeiture, Thomson is prohibited from hunting outside of Canada for a period of two years and from importing and exporting animals or their parts to and from Canada for a period of two years for reasons not related to his taxidermy business.

This case was initiated under Operation Bruin, an extensive North American investigation into illegal hunting of wildlife in Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Enforcement Branch, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and Alberta Justice and Solicitor General (Fish and Wildlife Enforcement) worked together to enforce their respective laws that protect wildlife, after U.S. authorities initially determined that several Alberta hunters were illegally killing Alaskan brown bears and unlawfully importing them into Canada.

To date, six Canadians and two Americans have been convicted in Canada—under Operation Bruin—for contraventions of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, with penalties totalling $87,200. In addition, the eight defendants have a combined 28 years of hunting bans and prohibitions against importing and exporting animals to and from Canada. As a result of Operation Bruin, 36 animal trophies and over $100,000 in hunting gear, including an aircraft, a truck, all-terrain vehicles, a boat, and a rifle have been ordered forfeited to the Crown. U.S. partners have convicted 12 people under this operation, in Alaska.

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.

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

Quick facts

  • The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act is the legislation that implements the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, in Canada.

  • The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. It was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.

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