Conservation and Wildlife Crimes

Conservation and wildlife crimes encompass a broad scope of possible law infringements, from the illegal sale of land to the unlawful killing of endangered species. Within that scope, it’s hard to pin down the exact offense level and potential prosecution charges.

If you or someone you know faces charges for conservation and wildlife crimes, you might want to dig into the nitty-gritty of what precisely that charge entails, how one might fall under suspicion of said law, and the consequences.

In any event, if you’re being accused of federal wildlife crimes, call the Zoukis Consulting Group. We will go to court with you and defend you from your charges.

Corporate Offenses: Conservation and Wildlife Crimes

A corporate offense is one that an individual, business, or corporation commits as part of their occupation. The perpetrator may or may not do so knowingly, but authorities can prosecute regardless.

Corporate offenses, specifically concerning conservation and wildlife, can range from trivial crimes, such as hammering nails into trees within a protected area or actively dumping sewage in National Parks. 

According to the Conservation and Wildlife laws, these crimes garner a minimum level six offense but can exceed a level 15 if certain circumstances pertaining to the crime apply. For example, if the perpetrator has committed similar crimes before, the current offense will increase by two levels. 

The higher the offense level, the more serious the charges become, meaning a crime committed with a higher level will more likely be prosecuted for a lengthier sentence than one committed at a lower level. 

Conservation and wildlife crimes currently sit at the offense level with human and drug trafficking because the crimes can significantly impact ecological and economic stability, public health, security, and criminal justice systems.

Conservation and Wildlife Offenses Involving Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Examples

Conservation and Wildlife crimes encompass all wildlife, including flora and fauna. These crimes extend to any form of trafficking, possessing, consuming, and destroying wildlife products. Some conservation and wildlife crime examples include:

  • Importing and exporting illegal wildlife goods, such as elephant tusks or endangered species.
  • Selling illegal wildlife goods.
  • Unauthorized hunting, fishing, netting, and other means of possessing protected wildlife species.
  • Destruction of protected or quarantined premises, like National Park territory.

Offense Escalation Examples

While there is a broad range of conservation and wildlife crime, each one can escalate further toward a heightened offense level if the acts fall under specific circumstances, such as:

  • The act involved marine mammals protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
  • Fish, wildlife, or plants involved are considered endangered or threatened as per the Endangered Species Act or are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna or Flora.
  • Posed a significant risk of infection, disease, harm, or otherwise to humans, fish, wildlife, or plants.
  • The act involved the illegal purchase, sale, destruction, or exchange of a cultural heritage site. 

Conservation and Wildlife Crime Consequences

As with all crimes, those committed toward conservation and wildlife are not without severe consequences. However, these consequences vary depending on the perpetrator’s location since varying jurisdictions handle cases differently.

Similarly, more nuanced crimes, like nailing flyers into a tree that an individual didn’t know was protected, will not yield the same consequences as, say, hunting and trading endangered species. 

Since there is a wide range of offenses, penalties range from fines to life imprisonment. The latter typically falls more toward serious crimes committed on large-scale fronts by corporations. 

Organizations and Partnerships Against Wildlife Crime

Monitoring has become difficult for authority figures because of the scale and various offenses encompassed under conservation and wildlife crime law. As a result, many organizations, partnerships, and nonprofits have popped up to help hold offenders accountable and ward off potential crimes from happening initially. 

Some of these organizations and partnerships include:

  • Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES)
  • United for Wildlife
  • Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC)
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)
  • Basel Institute on Governance – Green Corruption Program

These organizations and partnerships often work with government agencies, such as INTERPOL, The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to efficiently and effectively regulate crime worldwide. 

Hire a Lawyer for Your Wildlife Crimes Defense

If you or someone you know has been imprisoned due to a conservation and wildlife crime, you can contact the Zoukis Consulting Group. We are advocates for prison inmates and those in court, ready to help on your behalf.

We gather as much information about your case as possible to help you and alleviate your situation.

Call us today to start benefiting from our criminal defense team.