MEDICINE HAT, AB, Oct. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - John (Jack) Whitmarsh of
Dunmore, Alberta, was convicted on October 16, 2013, in Alberta
Provincial Court on two counts for illegally possessing and importing
an Alaskan brown bear into Canada. Whitmarsh was sentenced to pay
$15,000 for violating subsection 6(1) and paragraph 8(a) of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and
Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).
The Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) will receive $13,500 of the
$15,000. Whitmarsh is also prohibited for a period of two years from
importing wildlife into Canada and travelling outside of Alberta for
the purposes of hunting. He was required to forfeit the hide and skull
seized during the investigation.
This resolution is one element of Operation Bruin, an extensive three
year multi-agency international investigation into the illegal hunting
of Alaskan wildlife. Environment Canada, the United States Fish and
Wildlife Service, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Alberta Fish & Wildlife
worked together after Alaskan authorities determined that several
Alberta hunters were illegally killing brown bears and importing them
into Canada. The investigation revealed that, in addition to the brown
bears, a number of mountain goats and two black bears were also
allegedly illegally harvested and imported into Canada.
Investigators in Canada seized seven brown bears, five mountain goats,
two black bears, four ducks and three wolverines during the
investigation. Import and export of all species of bear are controlled
by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
To date, 15 Alberta residents have been charged by Environment Canada
for alleged contraventions of WAPPRIITA, and two, including John
Whitmarsh, have been convicted as a result of Operation Bruin. Lyle
Whitmarsh of Cochrane, Alberta, was previously convicted on March 22,
2013 in Calgary Provincial Court for illegally importing a brown bear
that was illegally killed in Alaska. He was fined $4,000, of which
$3,600 will go to the EDF. Additionally, Lyle Whitmarsh was ordered to
declare all wildlife imports into Canada to Environment Canada for a
period of two years. He also forfeited an Alaska brown bear skull and
As a further result of the investigation, three Alaska residents have
also been indicted in Alaska, along with a guide. A fourth Alaskan has
also been charged in both the United States and Canada.
Environment Canada enforces federal laws that protect wildlife. Any
CITES-listed wildlife imported into Canada, exported from Canada, or
attempted to be exported without the required permits is subject to
seizure and forfeiture, and those responsible are liable to
The Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment Canada, was
created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as
a result of fines, court orders and voluntary payments for the repair
of the actual harm done to the environment.
Environment Canada has created a subscription service to help the
Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to
protect our natural environment. Subscribing to Environment Canada's
Enforcement Notifications is easy, and free. Sign up today.
SOURCE: Environment Canada
For further information:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Environment Canada's Twitter page: http://twitter.com/environmentca
Environment Canada's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/environmentcan
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