Monday, December 28, 2009

Trafficking in bear gall bladders draws fines and jail sentence

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

OLYMPIA - Investigations by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) detectives into illegal trafficking in bear gall bladders have resulted in hefty fines for two eastern Washington men and a year-long jail sentence for one of them.

William A. Page, 63, a Curlew meat cutter, was sentenced Dec. 18 in Ferry County Superior Court to a year in jail plus $3,000 in fines after being convicted a month earlier of six counts of unlawful trafficking in wildlife.

Page, of 49 Bjork Ranch Rd. in Curlew, also forfeited $1,600 he paid to undercover WDFW officers for the gall bladders.

Mike Cenci, WDFW deputy chief of enforcement, said Page admitted to buying 35 gall bladders in 2007 and 2008, including 17 he purchased from undercover officers during the course of the department’s investigation.

Some people believe bear gall bladders have healing powers, Cenci said. He noted that black market prices for galls can range between $100 to thousands of dollars, depending on whether the sales take place locally or overseas.

"Buying or selling bear gall bladders is a crime in this state, because it creates an increased demand for wildlife and their body parts," Cenci said. "That can threaten the long-term sustainability of populations that can’t withstand commercialization."

In a separate case, the Spokane County Superior Court fined the owner of a Spokane food market $1,000 on Dec. 22 for two felony convictions of illegally trafficking in wildlife.

A Spokane jury found Jason Yon, 51, owner of JAX Market on East Mission Street, guilty of purchasing four bear gall bladders from WDFW officers during an undercover investigation in 2008. In addition to the fine, Yon forfeited $800 he paid to buy the gall bladders.

Cenci said WDFW relies heavily on tips from hunters and people in local communities about illegal wildlife-trafficking operations. He asks that people who believe they have witnessed these crimes call WDFW Enforcement at (360) 902-2936.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Symbol of Justice

The wolf is not always a feared and hated creature. In the medieval village of Utrecht, Netherlands the symbol of justice is the wolf.

The courtyard of the criminal justice center displays a magnificent statue of a blindfolded white wolf. Why the blindfold? Because as the saying goes "justice is blind". This is done in order to indicate that justice is (or should be) meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness.

The irony is that today in America we are struggling to treat the wolf in this same frame of context and blind objectivity.

Utrecht was created almost 2,000 years ago by the occupying Roman army. The Romans introduced many cultural changes and advancements. They were ultimately "run out of town" by the invading germanic tribes.

The city was never bombed in World War II and still retains it's old world charm and unique architecture.

posted by Dennis Ryan, photo credits Dennis Ryan

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cougar Ecology and Conservation

Announcing the release of Cougar Ecology and Conservation
edited by Maurice Hornocker and Sharon Negri

Internationally renowned biologist Maurice Hornocker and long time conservationist Sharon Negri have joined forces to produce Cougar Ecology and Conservation, a seminal go-to resource for scientists, wildlife managers, biologists, conservationists, and anyone who has an interest in large carnivores.

A rare anthology featuring twenty leading scientists from Canada to Patagonia, Cougar Ecology and Conservation is the first comprehensive book that spans the cougars entire range and includes a of topics surrounding this complex animal.

The book's contributors cover a wide range of experience, perspectives and topics. Some of the subjects covered include taxonomy, genetics, history, cougar behavior and social organization, predator-prey relationships, population dynamics, management, human dimensions, the role of government and citizens in conservation, conservation planning, and the future of research.

Cougar Ecology and Conservation contains 304 pages, including 36 color photographs, 70 halftones, 19 line drawings, and 25 tables.

To order the book link to: University of Chicago Press