$8,000 fine for illegal import of kulans

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Sarnia, Ontario -- August 24, 2011 -- Mr. Brian Hart of Bowmanville, Ontario pleaded guilty on August 12, 2011 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Sarnia to illegally importing three live Kulans without the required permits in Canada. Mr. Hart was ordered to pay a total fine of $8,000 and to forfeit the seized animals.

Mr. Hart was charged by Environment Canada with, and pleaded guilty to, one count each of contravening subsections 6(1) and 6(2) of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). The offences included unlawfully importing an animal transported in contravention of a foreign state’s law, and importing an animal into Canada without a valid permit under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The offences occurred on September 16, 2009, when Mr. Hart imported three Kulans into the Port of Sarnia. A Kulan (Equus hemionus, anAsiatic wild ass of the Russian steppes) is listed under CITES as a species that may become endangered if its trade is not controlled. Also known as an Onager, the Kulan is a large mammal belonging to the horse family and native to the deserts of Syria, Iran, India and Tibet. The Kulan can be found in Turkmenistan, and has been re-introduced in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. There is also an introduced hybrid population in Israel.

Aside from forfeiture of the three Kulans, Mr. Hart was ordered to notify Environment Canada one week prior to any importation or exportation of any animals for the next three years. In addition, he was ordered to contribute $2,545.89 toward the housing of the seized Kulans while in Canada prior to the August 12 sentencing.

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