Manitoba Outfitters Fined for Illegally Exporting Wildlife

WINNIPEG, Man. -- March 2, 2012 -- Chris Switzer and Helen Switzer of Bear Valley Outfitters pleaded guilty to and were fined for violations against the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) and The Wildlife Act (Manitoba). They were charged in April 2010 following a joint investigation which included officers from Environment Canada, Manitoba Conservation, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Saskatchewan Environment.

The investigation spanned three years and was focussed on the illegal exportation of black bear parts including hunting trophies taken through the couple’s outfitting business, Bear Valley Outfitters, near Swan River, Manitoba.

Christopher Douglas Switzer pleaded guilty to two counts under WAPPRIITA for exporting wild animal parts to the United States without a valid federal export permit issued in compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and making false statements to wildlife officers. He was ordered to pay a fine of $7,500 and was given a court-ordered prohibition against applying for or obtaining CITES export permits for a period of four years. He also pleaded guilty to two counts under The Wildlife Act (Manitoba) for possessing wildlife without authority and was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000.

Helen Susan Switzer pleaded guilty to two counts under WAPPRIITA for exporting wild animal parts to the United States without a valid federal CITES export permit, and supplying false information to obtain a CITES export permit. She was ordered to pay a fine of $750 and was given a court-ordered prohibition against applying for or obtaining CITES export permits for a period of two years. She also pleaded guilty to one count under The Wildlife Act (Manitoba) for using false information to obtain a provincial wildlife export permit and was ordered to pay a fine of $250.

CITES sets controls on movement of animal and plant species that are, or may be, threatened due to excessive commercial exploitation. WAPPRITTA is the legislative vehicle by which Canada meets its obligations under CITES. Environment Canada is the lead agency responsible for implementing CITES on behalf of the federal government.

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