Canadian Company Pleads Guilty to Exporting Polar Bear Skin Rugs

Environment and Climate Change Canada's wildlife enforcement officers launched an investigation two years ago and discovered a polar bear skin rug located in Canada that had previously been exported to China. The investigation found the company on three occasions illegally exported polar bear skins to China.

The Canadian government announced Oct. 23 that Fourrures Mont-Royal Inc., a Quebec company, had pleaded guilty Oct. 3 in a court in that province to three counts under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act relating to the illegal exportation of three polar bear skin rugs. The company was fined $22,500, which will go to the Environmental Damages Fund, and two polar bear skin rugs were ordered forfeited to the government, which reported the company had initially presented the two rugs for sale, with a value of $17,000, to an Ontario fur auction house.

Environment and Climate Change Canada's wildlife enforcement officers launched an investigation two years ago when discrepancies in submissions made to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permit office led to the discovery of one polar bear skin rug located in Canada; it had previously been exported to China. The investigation found the company on three occasions illegally exported polar bear skins to China.

The announcement said four more polar bear skins, both rugs and hides, were forfeited upon consent by two other companies that possessed them at the time of the investigation. Two of these skins were listed for retail sale for a total of $30,000.

The conviction means the company's name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada. More than 180 countries, including Canada, have signed the CITES agreement to protect the world's most threatened species.

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