Smuggling protected animal species into Canada nets hefty fine

March 8, 2017 - Richmond, British Columbia - Environment and Climate Change Canada

On March 6, 2017, Ms. Xiu Mei Cui pleaded guilty, in the Provincial Court of British Columbia, to two counts under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. She was fined $75,000 and prohibited, for a period of two years, from importing into Canada items made with species listed by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Of the fine, $70,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund. All items seized were forfeited.

On October 17, 2014, officers with the Canada Border Services Agency intercepted Ms. Cui, at the Vancouver International Airport, after finding undeclared jewelry items in her luggage. During the secondary examination, border services officers discovered ivory pendants, bracelets, carvings, chopsticks and ornaments.  All the items were detained for investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers. Forensic DNA testing confirmed that the items were made from animal species protected by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, including African and Asian elephants, lion, white rhinoceros and hawksbill turtle.

Quick facts

  • INTERPOL estimates the value of wildlife crime worldwide to be worth between US$8 billion to US$23 billion, making it the fourth most lucrative crime area after illegal drugs, human trafficking, and counterfeiting.
  • Wild elephant populations in Africa have been under great pressure from poaching and trafficking in ivory. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 were poached last year.
  • The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Created in 1995, it provides a way to direct funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to projects that will benefit our natural environment.
  • 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, like the Canada Border Services Agency, to detect violations and take enforcement action. Any wildlife listed by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and 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 for prosecution.

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Environment and Climate Change Canada
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