Reptile smuggling nets 6-month conditional sentence and $5000 fine

Cornwall resident convicted under federal wildlife legislation

February 17, 2014 - Cornwall, Ontario - Environment Canada

Stephen Malcolm Shillingford, of Cornwall, Ontario, was convicted in the Ontario Court of Justice on February 10, 2014, for illegally importing reptiles, listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), into Canada from the United States. Mr. Shillingford was sentenced to a six-month conditional sentence, a fine of $5000, and ordered to report to Environment Canada Enforcement for a period of two years before importing plants and animals, for violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) and the regulations thereunder. The fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

This case represents a joint investigation with the Canada Border Services Agency and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Mr. Shillingford was also convicted for smuggling under the Customs Act and received a six-month conditional sentence to be served concurrently.

Mr. Shillingford was found guilty of unlawfully importing CITES-listed reptiles, primarily tortoises, a popular species within the pet trade, into Canada at the Cornwall border crossing, between February 26, 2011 and November 1, 2011, without the required permit under CITES. Mr. Shillingford purchased reptiles in the United States and brought them into Canada. Most of the reptiles were pre-sold to pet stores and individuals in Ontario, using various internet classifieds sites to solicit his clientele.

Quick Facts

  • CITES is an international agreement to regulate or in some cases to prohibit trade in specific species of wild animals and plants, as well as their respective parts and derivatives. Environment Canada is the lead agency responsible for CITES implementation in Canada. WAPPRIITA is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada. 
  • Environment Canada enforces federal laws that protect wildlife and works closely with other federal, provincial, territorial and international agencies to stop offenders. Any CITES-listed wildlife imported into Canada, exported from Canada, or attempted to be exported without the required permits is subject to seizure and forfeiture and those responsible are liable to prosecution.
  • The Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment Canada, was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders and voluntary payments for the repair of the actual harm done to the environment.

Additional Link

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Media Relations
Environment Canada

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