Summertime is peak garage sale season. Are you thinking of selling that dusty old deer head, mounted fish or stuffed bird? Maybe you are considering putting a turtle or baby skunk up for sale on an Internet classified website. Better think twice.
In most cases, members of the public need a licence or permit to harvest and possess or to offer to buy or sell fish and wildlife in Ontario. This includes animals both living and long dead, and even their parts.
The purchase or sale of Ontario’s fish and wildlife including angler-caught fish, taxidermy mounts, skulls, meat, bones, antlers or live wildlife including mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects is, in many cases, unlawful and could result in serious penalties.
The Ministry of Natural Resources enforces laws related to the illegal trade in fish and wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act provides for penalties of up to $100,000 and two years in jail for persons convicted of these types of offences. Even heftier fines of up to $250,000 and a year in jail for one offence, or $500,000 and a year in jail for a second or subsequent offence, are possible under the Endangered Species Act
If you don’t want a run-in with the law, stick to clothes, books, furniture and other household items for your garage sale. Trying to sell Ontario wildlife, either live or dead, could prove to be very costly.
What can you do if you see others engaging in illegal fish and wildlife trafficking, whether on the web or in the wild? Report natural resources violations by calling 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free anytime or contacting your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).