Join Date: Mar-2003
Location: Orillia, ON
Corey- your last statement is true for things that do not originate in the US. It is different for CITES listed specimens that are native to the US such as Wood Turtles, Rubber and Rosy Boas, etc.
SCReptiles- Of course it is difficult to tell with legal certainty whether something is CB or WC. And yes, there ARE people who would still collect threatened and endangered species. I have met some of them in person.
tHeGiNo- what happens at the border with wildlife varies widely even within the framework of the laws. CWS biologists who can ID animals may inspect something if they have concerns, but they may not. Some customs officers have an interest and may be able to ID some things, others don't. On the US side, virtually everything is inspected now by USFWS officers who generally have decent ID skills, and bring books with them.
With respect to WAPPRIITA (taken from 'Your Guide to WAAPRIITA', I have a copy of the statute but not the time to review it at the moment)- it is the Canadian law that enables CITES, an international convention (not a law!). Without it, if someone imported a CITES animal without the export permit from the exporting country, or if the permit was granted but only due to falsified information, CWS could not prosecute in Canada. The individual would have only broken the laws of the exporting country, and would have to have been charged there. Since many foreign countries don't care and wouldn't expend the money to prosecute, CWS can now do so here in Canada. Essentially, if you break a foreign law to get something here, you have broken a Canadian law that says 'you can't break any foreign laws'.
WAAPRIITA allows make it an offence to distribute (includes sell) CITES App. I specimens except as proscribed in the regulations, which can change more easily than the statute. As of 1996, you could sell an App. I specimen if you could show with reasonable probability that it came out of the wild prior to 1975 (when CITES was created), if you can show that it was legally imported following all CITES procedures (this is why you need copies of the paperwork!), if you can show that you are not in violation of any federal/provincial/territorial consveration law (covers App. I species native to Canada, i.e. whales, peregrine falcons, whooping cranes), or if a specimen is part of a 'captive breeding program'. Note that now we are not talking just about possession. If Bob sells Jim an App. I specimen without proof of legality, Jim could be charged with possession but Bob can also be charged with illegal sale. Both would have to go to court to try to prove 'reasonable probability' of legality. Not fun, very costly, and of course, perhaps it wasn't legal anyway!
As for interprovincial movements, WAPPRIITA makes it an offence to transport a specimen between provinces if it was illegally collected, possessed, etc. in another province, or to possess a specimen which was transported illegally. Without WAAPRIITA, if Bob collected a black rat snake (protected species) in Ontario, took it to New Brunswick, and sold it to Mary, and Mary then took it to Nova Scotia and sold it to Rick, who broke the law? Bob, and he would have to be charged in Ontario. This might be difficult and expensive if he lived in Quebec. With WAAPRIITA, Mary broke the law too, and so did Rick. This also means that if Bob sold it to 'some guy at a reptile show', and Rick bought it from 'some guy at a reptile show', Rick could still be charged, though the trail back to Bob might be harder to follow.
The new Species at Risk act will also apply to examples like the above one of things which are 'at risk' in Canada.
Some provinces regulate the movement of wildlife between them, and others don't. I'll take Ryan's word about Sask. and Alberta. Ontario regulates import/export of species native to here, but not CITES listed animals (unless they happen to be native like Wood turtles). You don't need an Ontario import or export permit to move a Jamaican Boa to or from the province, but you might need a permit from another province.
The moral of the story- find out all of the relevant laws before you attempt to do something. Depending upon the situation you may need to check CITES, WAAPRIITA, SARA, Agriculture Canada laws, Ontario Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act and Ontario Endangered Species Act (and/or equivalent provincial/territorial laws elsewhere), US federal and state laws, and of course, municipal, county, or regional by-laws!!! Yes, it can be a real challenge sometimes!
Remember however, that most of the WAAPRIITA stuff applies to CITES App. I specimens, not the more common App. II stuff.
Cas, accredited zoos are more likely to be aware of the laws and require the appropriate permits. They are also more likely to be granted them from the authorities, for obvious reasons. This may not be the case for private zoos, which vary widely in size and scope. However, zoos don't generally need to watch paperwork for a green iguana, as CWS has claimed that they are not worried about these things. Most zoos don't want them anyway!