March 28, 2005

Reward increased to $10K in search for violators of federal, BC laws protecting wildlife

SURREY, BC-British Columbia's Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection (WLAP) is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of wildlife law violators, following the discovery of the remains of at least eight more bald eagles in North Vancouver. Ministry conservation officers found eight skulls and six wings, in an advanced state of decomposition, buried five kilometres west of the location of the initial discovery. So far, at least 50 eagles have been found. In addition to the Ministry reward, the District of North Vancouver, the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation and the Humane Society of Canada have offered rewards of $2,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, for a total available reward of $10,000. The BC Wildlife Federation also offers a standing reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the conviction of those found responsible for breaking wildlife laws. As a result of the initial discovery, the Ministry's Conservation Officer Service formed a task force of officers to focus on this issue, and has received investigative support from the RCMP. BC's Wildlife Act provides for fines up to $50,000 for a first poaching offence, with penalties for trafficking eagle parts up to $100,000 for a first offence for each count. The federal International and Interprovincial Trade Act's wild animal and plant protection regulation sets penalties as high as $150,000 for illegal export, with a possible jail term of up to five years.

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