Wildlife Court Calendar

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2003:

U.S. District Judge for the D.C. Circuit Gladys Kessler on
July 31 rejected a Fund for Animals lawsuit challenging the authority
of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue import permits for
Argali sheep trophies imported from Mongolia, Tajikistan, and
Kyrgyzstan. The Fund argued that hunting the Argali put the species
in peril. Responded Kessler, in granting a motion for summary
judgement solicited by Safari Club International on behalf of USFWS
and the Department of the Interior, “Because U.S. hunters generally
pay the highest prices for hunting permits issued by the Tajikistan
government, the absence of legal U.S. hunting substantially
decreased the permit revenues received by the Tajikistan government.
Because permit revenues were used in part for conservation and to
‘convince the local population not to poach,’ the decreased revenues
actually resulted in increasing the amount of poaching in the
region.” In short, Kessler reaffirmed the paradigm prevailing in
wildlife law since the Middle Ages that because hunters fund wildlife
management, wildlife management should favor hunting.

Rejecting Mi’kmaq tribal claims to possess aboriginal
fishing, hunting, and trapping rights in the Bay du Nord Wilderness
Reserve, Newfoundland Supreme Court Judge Leo Barry in a 466-page
verdict released in late July ruled that, “The ancestors of the
Mi’kmaq of Conne River arrived on the island of Newfoundland some
time after 1550 A.D., by which time European contact and influences
prevented their fishing, hunting, and trapping practices from
attaining the status of aboriginal rights.” Originating in 1996,
the case occupied 47 court dates between January 2000 and December
2002, and required Barry to review 150,000 pages of historical data,
translated from French, Basque, Portuguese, and Dutch, wrote Rob
Antle of the St. John’s Telegram. The Mi’kmaq may now appeal to the
Supreme Court of Canada. If Barry’s reasoning holds up, his
reasoning might be applied to other claims of “aboriginal” hunting,
fishing, and trapping rights involving use of weapons and means of
transportation that did not exist before European settlement.

African Game Services owner Riccardo Ghiazza of Brits, South
Africa, found guilty on April 7, 2003 of cruelty to 30 young
elephants in 1998-1999, on July 29 was sentenced to 12 months in
prison, suspended, and was fined the equivalent of $3,300 U.S.
Ex-employee Henry Wayne Stockigt received a six-month suspended
prison term and a fine of $1,300. The sentencing ends the “Tuli
elephants case,” which began with the capure of the elephants from
the Tuli district of Botswana in July 1998. Ghizza, a major
supplier of African wildlife to zoos in China, apparently intended
to sell some or all of the elephants to China. Instead, according
to the South Africa-based Wildlife Action Group, nine went to the
Marakele Game Reserve in South Africa; nine went to the Sandhurst
Safaris hunting lodge in North West Province; seven are held in
controversial conditions at the Dresden Zoo, in Germany; and five
were sold to former co-defendant Craig Saunders, but eventually
were moved to the Marakele Game Reserve after 17 months of litigation
by the National SPCA of South Africa. All charges against Saunders
were dismissed.

Tonye Nkeng, 40, recently “became the first Cameroonian to
be sentenced for trying to sell a baby chimpanzee, nine years after
a law prohibiting trade in endangered animals was passed,” Francis
Ngwa Niba reported for the BBC on July 24. Charged as result of an
investigation by The Last Great Ape, headed by Ofir Drori of Israel,
Nkeng drew a month in jail and a fine of about $1, 000.

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