British Columbia man penalized $18,000 after attempting to smuggle protected turtles into

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Environmental crime is a serious and growing international problem. The poaching and illegal trade of wild plants and animals is estimated to be worth over $155 billion USD per year and rising. Such activities exploit the world’s wild flora and fauna, and they are not tolerated in Canada. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers strive to ensure that businesses and individuals comply with federal environmental laws and regulations that protect Canada’s natural environment.

On May 6, 2019, after entering a guilty plea, Mr. Li Wan of Vancouver was ordered to pay an $18,000 penalty for violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). The penalty will be directed towards the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

On January 27, 2018, Mr. Wan failed to declare 19 live turtles (made up of 16 different species) at the Canada-United States border crossing. Of the 16 species of turtles, six are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The CITES-listed turtles include: Spotted Pond Turtle, Pearl River Map Turtle, Black-knobbed Map Turtle, Diamondback Terrapin and Fly River Turtle. A permit must be obtained prior to importing CITES-listed turtles into Canada. All turtles were seized from Mr. Wan and forfeited to the Crown.

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.

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

  • Globally, there are over 350 species of turtles and tortoises in the wild. Of this number, trade in 140 species of turtles and 44 species of tortoise are regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Live specimens of these animals are often sought after for use in the pet and food trade.

  • More than 180 countries, including Canada, have signed the CITES agreement and are working together to protect the world’s most threatened species.

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada is the lead agency responsible for implementing CITES in Canada. The Convention sets controls, through an international permit system, on the international trade and movement of more than 33,000 animal and plant species that are endangered, or have or may be threatened, due to excessive commercial exploitation.

  • The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) is the legislation that applies to the import and export of species whose survival is threatened or may become threatened by trade and it implements CITES 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 monetary penalties, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.

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