Ontario man jailed for illegal importation of endangered reptiles

June 8, 2017 - Fredericton, New Brunswick - Environment and Climate Change Canada

Grigori Zaharov, from Thornhill, Ontario, has been sentenced in Fredericton Provincial Court to concurrently serve two three-month jail terms after pleading guilty to one count of importing an animal, without the necessary permits, and to one count of exporting an animal from Cuba, without the proper authorization. Both acts were in contravention of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

On September 17, 2016, Mr. Zaharov and a companion were intercepted by Canada Border Services Agency officers after returning on a flight from Cuba with two iguanas and failing to declare the animals when completing their Canada Border Services Agency declaration card. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers identified the animals to be two Cuban rock iguanas (Cyclura nubila). The species is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Mr. Zaharov did not present permits to the officers for the export from Cuba or for the import into Canada.

Environment and Climate Change Canada enforces federal laws that conserve and protect wildlife, and it works closely with other federal, provincial, territorial, and international agencies (in this case, the Canada Border Services Agency and Cuban authorities) to detect violations and take enforcement action.

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