A Borders man has been fined £1,000 at Jedburgh Sheriff Court today for trading in parts of internationally protected species. The court also issued a forfeiture order for a mounted tiger head.
Richard Wales ran an on-line business under the name The Explorers Study, buying and selling antiquity products containing animal derivatives from an address in Newton St Boswalls.
On 23 September 2015, the premises was searched under warrant by Police Scotland officers with assistance from a Wildlife Inspector from Animal & Plant Health Agency. The search recovered a quantity of items including mounted heads and claws from protected animals including tiger and leopard. Subsequent analysis of evidence was undertaken with the assistance of the National Wildlife Crime Unit and DNA Wildlife Forensics at SASA.
The Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 prohibit the sale of certain species of animals or their derivatives. The highest category of protection under this legislation is given to certain species which are considered threatened by extinction due to trade. Both tiger and leopard fall into this category.
Police Scotland's Wildlife Crime Co-ordinator, Detective Sergeant Andy Mavin, said, "We are committed to investigating crimes against endangered species as part of the worldwide campaign to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife. However, these types of enquiries can be complex and time-consuming so the assistance provided by our partners is much valued. This is the second conviction this year in Scotland for offences under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 and we shall continue to investigate incidents to enforce these regulations wherever appropriate."
Head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Lou Hubble, said, "International legislation exists to protect animals in danger of extinction from trade. It is recognised that trading in such animal parts and derivatives can endanger the few remaining species left in the wild and has resulted in global preventative action. It is therefore incumbent on everyone, wherever they may live, to ensure they abide by the law in order to protect the dwindling stocks of rare animals left on the planet. "