Listed below is one concluded court case from the "online" officer's notebook. If you would like to read all the wildlife and fisheries investigations and the final outcome of the court cases be sure to pickup your Alberta Game Warden magazine at your favorite bookstore. Or better yet, purchase a yearly subscription so you won't miss an issue.

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Treaty status provides no right of access: Pincher Creek District

A Treaty Indian paid heavily for neglecting to ask permission to hunt before killing a cow moose and two calves in the Pincher Creek area last winter.

On June 21, 2001, Clarence Allen Waite appeared in Pincher Creek provincial court to plead guilty to one count of hunting during a closed season and one count of illegal possession of wildlife. Judge Jacobson imposed a fine of $1,500 and ordered that the moose meat and hides be forfeited to the Crown. The meat was later distributed to a local family in need.

The sentencing related to an incident on Nov. 30, 2000, when a Pincher Creek conservation officer responded to a complaint that a cow moose had been shot and left on a road adjacent to private land. The complainant reported that the cow had not been tagged, but that there was a note attached to the carcass. The note gave a name and that the person had gone for help. The complainant was concerned because there was no season for cow moose in WMU 300.

The officer discovered the carcass had been removed and that a cow moose and two calves had been killed within two quarter sections on opposite sides of the road. Tracks at the scene indicated that all three carcasses had been loaded on the same truck and trailer. The officer found that the two different landowners involved were not aware of anyone hunting on their land and had not given permission for anyone to hunt.

Conservation officers tracked the name on the note to Clarence Allen Waite, 42 of Lethbridge. Lethbridge conservation officers interviewed Waite at his home on Dec. 2, 2000. Waite provided the officers with a statement in which he admitted that he had killed a cow moose and two calves in the area on the date in question, but stated that he took the animals under Treaty Right. Waite produced a Treaty Card that identified him as a member of the Mohawks from the Bay of Quinte in Ontario. He said that he had been on his way to the Forest Reserve to hunt elk when he saw the moose from the road and at that point decided to shoot them. One of the officers advised Waite that although his Treaty Status allowed him to hunt at all times of the year, it did not give him a right to access private land for that purpose.

Conservation officers executed search warrants on January 9, 2001, for two residences and outbuildings owned by Waite. The officers recovered three moose hides, bones, scraps and photographs of the moose from a shed that Waite used for cutting meat at one of his residences. Additional moose meat that Waite had processed into sausage, jerky and other cuts were seized from his second residence.


Reptile smuggler sentenced to nearly six years in prison

Washington DC, June 11, 2001 - The world's endangered species are one small step safer with the recent sentencing of Keng Liang "Anson" Wong to 71 months in federal prison, sending a signal that illegal wildlife trade will not be tolerated. Wong, a notorious dealer of threatened and endangered wildlife, was sentenced last Thursday in federal court in San Francisco and ordered to pay a US$60,000 fine.

Craig Hoover, senior program officer for TRAFFIC North America said, "This is an important moment for conservation. This sentence, one of the highest ever assessed for illegal trade in live animals, sends a very strong signal that illegal trade in endangered wildlife will be dealt with swiftly and severely."

Endangered species traded by Wong included two particularly rare reptiles from island nations. The Komodo dragon, the world's largest lizard, is native only to a relatively small area of Indonesia. The plowshare or Madagascan spurred tortoise, believed by many to be the world's rarest tortoise species, occurs only on the island of Madagascar.

"The list of endangered species exploited by Wong is exceeded only by the list of charges to which Wong pled guilty," Hoover added. "One would be hard-pressed to identify a case involving such a broad array of protected species traded in violation of so many domestic, foreign and international laws. This case also presents an opportunity to ensure that such gross violation of these wildlife laws is not repeated."

Wong, whose operation was based in Malaysia, pleaded guilty last December to 40 federal felony charges including money laundering, conspiracy, smuggling, and violations of the Lacey Act, a U.S. wildlife protection law that prohibits trade in animals protected under federal, state, or international law and the making of false statements concerning wildlife shipments. The smuggling operation that illegally imported and sold more than 300 protected reptiles native to Asia and Africa ran from 1996 to 1998 and brought in more than $500,000. Wong was lured to Mexico by undercover investigators in 1998 where he was arrested and, ultimately, extradited to and prosecuted in the United States.

"We commend the commitment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department in enforcing our wildlife regulations," said Hoover. "This is the most significant case of its kind and it makes a tremendous statement as to the importance of ceasing illegal trafficking of rare animals."

Trade of the animals smuggled and sold by Wong is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a global agreement that controls the importation and exportation of thousands of imperiled animals and plants. Commercial traffic in many of these reptiles is prohibited; others require permits to legally enter trade. A number are also protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which outlaws their importation into the United States for commercial purposes.

"This case underscores the tremendous growth in both the legal and illegal live reptile trades, largely to supply the demand for exotic pets in the United States. In fact, the United States is by far the world's largest consumer of live reptiles for the pet trade. Although captive breeding and other sustainable production efforts support much of this trade, harvest and trade from wild populations remain serious threats to a significant number of species," Hoover explained. "However, with the substantial sentencing in this case of international consequence, the United States can provide a much-needed deterrent to this extremely lucrative and damaging illicit trade, and set an example for other countries to follow."


We invite wildlife and fisheries enforcement officers from all jurisdictions to submit current and significant cases for inclusion in the Game Warden's Notebook segment of the publication. All details must be accurate public record. Please send the details and photographs of case files to:


Jason Hanson
5201 - 50 Avenue
Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada T9A 0S7


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