Unlawful Import of Protected Birds Results in Fine

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- January 4, 2012 -- Mr. Ali Niamath of Etobicoke, Ontario, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to one count of unlawfully importing into Canada four live birds identified as Lesser Seed-finches and a Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. 

The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA), subsection 6(1), prohibits the import into Canada of any animal that was taken or transported in contravention of any law of any foreign state. Niamath was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and is prohibited for a period of 18 months as of January 3, 2012, from acquiring, buying, selling, trading or bartering in birds. During this time period, the court ordered that Niamath must allow Environment Canada officers to inspect his premises to ensure compliance with the order.

Environment Canada enforcement officers launched an investigation after four unidentified live birds were discovered in hair curlers inside Niamath’s coat by Canada Border Services Agency officers at Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Niamath did not have the required export permits issued by Trinidad and Tobago for these species.

The Lesser Seed-finch and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater birds are known for their beautiful song. Adult birds weigh just ten grams, and stand 12 centimetres high. Highly coveted as a pet, Lesser Seed-finch populations are in decline, as these birds are frequently trapped in the wild and exported illegally.

Further information on WAPPRIITA may be found at The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora .

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