Saving wildlife has been the agenda of all the countries for quite a long time. But the incidents of wildlife trafficking are still reported frequently, which raises multiple questions and concerns. While laws have been made to safeguard such endangered species, unnoticed purchases of their products are a serious concern.
In a similar kind of scenario, a biology professor, Dr. Richard Kazmaier (54) at the West Texas A&M University, has allegedly smuggled wildlife items from around the world into the United States.
Biology Professor Imported Protected Wildlife Items Leading To Trafficking
The said information was shared by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Chad E. Meacham. Further, the suggested case reported that Kazmaier imported protected wildlife products to the country without declaring or obtaining a permit. This makes it an offense under the Endangered Species Act that makes it a mandate to report any such purchase to customs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when it enters the country.
When It All Started
According to the report filed, Kazmaier purchased skulls, skeleton, and taxidermy mounts in the U.S. between March 2017-February 2020. The officials on the case reported that under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), trade in endangered species is a violation and can lead to punishment under the law.
Kazmaier’s purchase included wildlife items from 14 protected species without obtaining permits. The bought items were linked to the Eurasian otter, lynx, caracal, vervet monkey, greater naked-tailed armadillo, and king bird-of-paradise.
Consequences Of Being Convicted
The case of Kazmaier is still under prosecution. The final results are still awaited, but if convicted, he can face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the felony smuggling charge. Furthermore, officials also informed that Endangered Species Act charges are misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail and a $100,000 fine. While the officials are waiting for the final results on the case, it is crucial to understand that such trafficking needs to be strictly prohibited and taken into consideration to save endangered species at large.