Alaskan hunter fined $8,500 for illegally exporting Yukon wildlife
February 16, 2022 – Whitehorse, Yukon – Environment and Climate Change Canada
Wildlife enforcement officers work across the country to enforce the laws and regulations that protect and conserve wildlife and its habitat. This work aims to reduce threats and damage to biodiversity for the benefit of Canadians and all living things.
On February 16, 2022, an Alaska resident Donald Harold Lee was fined $8,500 after pleading guilty in the Whitehorse Territorial Court to one count of violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). The charge relates to illegally exporting a Dall sheep from the Yukon to Alaska without a permit from the Yukon government. The fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.
In addition to the fine, Mr. Lee is prohibited from hunting in the Yukon for five years and was ordered to forfeit the Dall sheep trophy displaying the head and horns (a shoulder mount trophy).
In 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) wildlife enforcement officers in Whitehorse learned of an alleged illegal export of a Dall sheep from the Yukon by an Alaskan resident. In 2017, Mr. Lee reported to Alaskan authorities that he had harvested a Dall sheep in an area very close to the Alaska/Yukon border. However, photos Mr. Lee posted showed him posing with the Dall sheep in a harvest area that was suspected to be in the Yukon.
Enforcement officers conducted a ground search of the suspected area and, through photographic evidence, confirmed that the harvest occurred in the Yukon. In collaboration with the Alaska State Wildlife Troopers, the Yukon Conservation Officer Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ECCC determined that the Dall sheep was shot from the Alaska side of the border and exported to Alaska without a permit.
- ECCC is the lead agency responsible for the administration and enforcement of legislation implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Canada.
- WAPPRIITA is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada. Under Canadian law, any CITES-listed wildlife imported into Canada or exported from Canada without the required permits or a prescribed exemption may be subject to seizure and forfeiture, and those responsible may be liable to prosecution. WAPPRIITA also controls the export and interprovincial transport of non-CITES Canadian domestic wildlife species, such as Dall sheep.
- Dall sheep are a species of wild sheep that are native to northwestern North America. The large, curled horns of the adult male sheep make this species popular with big game hunters. To protect biodiversity, Dall sheep hunting is regulated and permits are required to transport harvested sheep over borders.
- Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund ensures that fines and court-awarded penalties are used to support projects that will benefit the environment.
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