Parrot poaching

Subject: Parrot poaching
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1996 18:00:12 +1000

  Although not related to Australia I thought everyone might be interested
  in this given the recent discussion on poaching.

  Cynics might suggest the length of the sentence had more to do with the
  tax evasion than the smuggling...

  Murray Lord


  On November 18, a Federal court in Chicago sentenced Tony Silva,
  an internationally recognized expert and outspoken protector of
  exotic birds, to nearly 7 years of imprisonment without parole
  for leading an international parrot smuggling conspiracy and a
  related income tax violation.

  In addition to the 82-month incarceration, U.S. District Court
  Judge Elaine Bucklo fined Silva $100,000 and ordered him to
  perform 200 hours of community service during a 3-year supervised
  release program following the prison term.  This is one of the
  most severe sentences ever imposed for bird smuggling.

  Also sentenced was Gila Daoud, Silva's mother.  She will serve a
  27-month prison term to be followed by a one-year supervised
  release program with concurrent 200 hours of community service.

  As she handed down the sentences, Judge Bucklo said, "The real
  victims of these crimes were the birds themselves and our
  children and future generations who may never have the
  opportunity to see any of these rare birds."

  On January 30, 1996, Silva pled guilty to a far-reaching
  conspiracy to smuggle or attempt to smuggle into this country
  some of the world's most endangered, beautiful, and highly
  protected wild birds.  The value of the smuggled wildlife totaled
  $1,386,900. Included in these illegal shipments were substantial
  numbers of extremely rare hyacinth macaws.  Silva also pled
  guilty to filing a false income tax return in connection with his
  sale of birds.

  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Law
  Enforcement's Branch of Special Operations spearheaded "Operation
  Renegade," a 3-year international probe to stem illegal trade in
  wild birds.  "The severity of the sentence in this case sends a
  clear signal that the United States will absolutely not tolerate
  the depletion of irreplaceable natural resources for personal
  gain," said John Rogers, acting Service director.

  The hyacinth macaw, found primarily in Brazil, has a wild
  population numbering between 2,000 and 5,000.  One of these birds
  can command a price of $5,000 to $12,000.  Because of this and
  the bird's precarious status in the wild, the hyacinth macaw has
  been accorded the highest level of protection provided under the
  Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES),
  an international wildlife treaty to which the United States and
  131 other nations are parties.  Worldwide, the illegal wildlife
  trade is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year business, second only to
  illegal drug trade.

  "The United States takes its obligations and responsibilities
  under CITES very seriously," said Rogers.  "This case reflects
  the Service's deep commitment to safeguarding the global
  community's natural resources."

  The prosecution was led by the United States Attorney's Office in
  Chicago and assisted by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the
  Wildlife and Marine Resources Section of the Environment and
  Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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