A Vancouver man has been ordered to pay a fine of $18,000 after he attempted to smuggle 19 live turtles into Canada, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
In January 2018, Li Wan was caught at the Canada-U.S. border with 19 undeclared live turtles consisting of 16 different species.
Of those 16 turtle species, the government agency said six of them are listed as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Endangered species in Wan’s luggage included the Spotted Pond Turtle, Pearl River Map Turtle, Black-knobbed Map Turtle, Diamondback Terrapin, and Fly River Turtle.
Environment and Climate Change Canada said a permit must be obtained before CITES-listed turtles can be imported into the country.
In May, Wan pleaded guilty to violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. He was fined $18,000, which will be directed to the federal government’s Environmental Damages Fund that is used to restore the environment and conserve wildlife and habitat.
All of the turtles were seized and forfeited to the Crown.
Environment and Climate Change Canada said the poaching and illegal trade of wild plants and animals is a growing international problem that is estimated to be worth more than US$155 billion per year.
“Such activities exploit the world's wild flora and fauna, and they are not tolerated in Canada,” the department said in a press release on Monday.