Illegal Tiger Trade Conviction Sets Important Precedent

The recent conviction and fine of Wing Quon Enterprises, a British Columbia business, for illegally possessing medicines containing tiger parts for the purpose of sale was praised by WWF and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. 

This conviction sets an important precedent for the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act – the Canadian law that restricts the trade in endangered species. The court demonstrated the seriousness of the conviction by imposing a $45,000 (approximately USD35,000) penalty for this first-time offense – close to the maximum fine of $50,000 (about USD40,000).  WWF and TRAFFIC hope this decision will deter the use of endangered species in traditional Chinese medicine.

As part of its ruling, the court chose to give approximately $40,000 (about USD31,000) of the fine to TRAFFIC to help further its efforts to ensure that wildlife trade is not detrimental to the conservation of nature.

Conservation partners such as Environment Canada’s Wildlife Enforcement Directorate, as well as other international enforcement agencies, often call upon TRAFFIC to help identify seized wildlife or products and provide accurate and reliable information on the international trade in wildlife and the impact it has on global species conservation.

Globally it is estimated that illegal wildlife trade generates $10-20 billion (USD8-16 billion) and impacts millions of individual plants and animals from tens of thousands of species annually.

The trade in tigers and other endangered species is a global issue, and this conviction reminds conservationists worldwide that the activities of consumers create a demand for these products and impact the conservation of species around the world. We all have a responsibility to avoid purchasing products made from illegal wildlife products – either while travelling abroad or at home.

TRAFFIC is a joint program of WWF and the IUCN—the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A central aim of TRAFFIC's activities is to contribute to the wildlife trade-related priorities of these partners. TRAFFIC also works in close cooperation with CITES – the largest wildlife conservation agreement in the world.

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