Of Caviar, Colobus, and Our Own Wildlife CSI

I read an RD article recently about how a lab in Peterborough is helping to catch poachers, wildlife killers, smugglers, and related lowlife.

They followed the story of one aw-shucks-I-was-just-importing-goatskins-officer crook. But the officer had aces up his sleeve: Environment Canada's Wildlife Enforcement Division and Natural Resources DNA Profiling and Forensic Centre in Peterborough.

Not goatskin. Nope.

Colobus Monkey,
originally uploaded by

Abdurahman Ibrahim had imported about ten colobus monkey skins. Jerk. For that, he got the grand fine of $2,250. Yes, only two thousand dollars and change. Less than what a car thief would get, yet last time I checked, cars weren't in short supply or about to go belly up. I don't even know if there are minimum fines, and this was large in comparison to the usual fine or minimum fine. But if so, that would be even worse.

What struck me was the fact that the federal government is shelling out all these big bucks for scientists to nail the crooked pieces of filthy human life and to enforce their wildlife treaties with other countries, yet they haven't jacked up the fines to at least attempt to recoup their costs, never mind making it extraordinarily expensive -- like house-losing, business-losing, end-up-on-the-streets expensive -- for the bastards when they get caught. The latter is so important when the worldwide trade in wildlife is worth $10 billion -- that's with a "b" -- annually. Given that this lab is apparently upping the convictions, one would think the anti-crime Stephen Harper government would be wanting to increase their revenues, with an inflation clause built in to boot. But then these were just monkeys, and the caviar was just from some fish across the pond somewhere. Still, money is money. So hello Feds, up the friggin' fines!