Ontario and Saskatchewan take a hard line on wildlife trafficking

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whitebearcub
A rare cream-coloured black bear cub is shown with its mother in the Whistler, B.C., area in this image provided by Whistler Blackcomb on Thursday June 2, 2016. Bear biologists are trying to demystify the genetic makeup of a rare cream-coloured black bear cub spotted near the resort community of Whistler, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Whistler Blackcomb-Arthur De Jong *MANDATORY CREDIT*

A two-and-a-half-year joint investigation between the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF) and Forestry and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment has resulted in one Ontario resident and four Saskatchewan residents being convicted for unlawfully trafficking in wildlife.

The Saskatchewan Special Investigations Unit (SSIU) received information in early 2017 that a Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan-area restaurant was buying black bear parts. Officers in Saskatchewan investigated and learned that individuals from Saskatoon and Toronto were involved in the illegal possession and buying of bear gall bladders.

The Saskatchewan SSIU contacted the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Intelligence and Investigations Service (IIS) in July of 2017 regarding the trafficking of bear parts from Saskatchewan to Toronto. Based on the information from Saskatchewan, MNRF conducted a joint investigation with the SSIU into the illegal buying and selling of black bear gall bladders and paws.

Following the investigation, Saskatchewan conservation officers charged four Saskatchewan residents under the Saskatchewan Wildlife Act with unlawfully trafficking in bear parts. Ontario conservation officers charged one Ontario resident under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act with unlawful possession of black bear gall bladders.

Justice of the Peace Paula Liu heard the case against Shun Ji Xue of Toronto in Toronto Old City Hall Court, convicted her of unlawfully possessing black bear gall bladders and fined her $3,250.

The following people in Saskatchewan were charged and convicted:

  • Li Gen Han of Sandy Bay was convicted of seven counts and fined $23,800
  • Luanshun Li of Sandy Bay was convicted of three counts and fined $8,400
  • Marcel Sewap of Sandy Bay was convicted of one count and fined $2,800
  • Launhua Chi of Saskatoon was convicted of seven counts and fined $29,120

In addition to fines totaling $67,370, all of the accused Saskatchewan residents were given a five-year suspension from purchasing hunting licences.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry wants to remind the public that buying and selling bear parts is illegal in Ontario, and that Ontario’s conservation officers work cooperatively with conservation officers throughout Canada to stop the illegal wildlife trade.

Ministry conservation officers work tirelessly to help make sure we can all enjoy Ontario’s natural resources in a safe and respectful manner. To report a natural resource violation, call the ministry TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free, or contact your local ministry office. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.

We need your help to solve cases. Please visit ontario.ca/mnrftips to view an interactive, searchable map of unsolved cases. You may have valuable information that can help.

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