B.C. Man Fined in Eagle Parts Trafficking Case
Saturday, November 08 2008 @ 04:21 PM EST
Contributed by: karenbills
From: CTV, British Columbia
B.C. man fined in eagle parts trafficking case
Updated: Fri Nov. 07 2008 14:50:03
A B.C. man has been fined $10,000 after pleading guilty to unlawfully trafficking in bald eagle parts following a year-long Canada-wide investigation.
David Essary Bill of Brentwood Bay, B.C., must pay $9,000 to the Habitat Trust Conservation Foundation, a wildlife organization that helps fund conservation projects.
Bill must also pay the courts $830 considered the proceeds of crime and he was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.
15 people have been charged following the year-long investigation by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service into the trafficking and poaching of eagles and other protected birds, including golden eagles, hawks and swans.
The investigation began in February 2005 after the remains of 50 bald eagles without tails or talons were found on two Indian reserves in North Vancouver.
In the end, suspects from Vancouver, Chilliwack, Langley, Duncan, Chehalis and Brentwood Bay, in B.C., as well as Hagersville, Ont., were charged under the Wildlife Act.
A total of $52,430 in penalties has been assessed so far against seven of the 15.
Conservation officials estimate up to 1,000 birds are killed illegally each year.
During the investigation, a manager for the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said the parts were sold in Canada and the U.S., possibly within the First Nations community's powwow circuit.
Black market for birds
Wildlife officers said that these killings are quite common because there is a large market for the feet and tail feathers of bald eagles.
The bird parts, which are used for ceremonial or artistic purposes, are sold on the black market for anywhere from $100 to $1,500 per part.
First Nations are issued permits to use parts of eagles that have died naturally for traditional ceremonies.
When dead birds are passed on to a native band, they are blessed to release their spirit, and prayers are said to apologize on behalf of man for their death.
B.C. is home to approximately 20,000 bald eagles, which are included in Canada's protected species list.
At the time of the first conviction the charges was $50,000 and up to six months in jail. Those penalties were raised to $250,000 and two years in jail under changes to the Wildlife Act earlier this year.
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