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ILLINOIS MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY SELLING PROTECTED BIRDS



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For Immediate Release:             Contact: Georgia Parham (812)334-4261 
x 203
January 30, 1998                           E-Mail: 
Georgia_Parham@mail.fws.gov
EA98-14                               Timothy Santel (217-793-9554)
E-Mail: Timothy_Santel@mail.fws.gov


ILLINOIS MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY SELLING PROTECTED BIRDS

Joseph Taylor of Mahomet, Illinois, was sentenced today in U.S. District 
Court in Urbana, Illinois, for illegally selling mounts of migratory 
birds in violation of Federal wildlife laws. Taylor will pay a $3,000 
fine plus court costs, with three years' probation for his activities.  
In addition, Taylor's business, Taylor Studios, Inc., must pay a $3,000 
fine and court costs; the business is also under 3 years' probation.   
The sentence was issued by Judge Harold Baker.

Both Taylor and his museum fabrication business are prohibited from 
acquiring, possessing, selling, brokering, or otherwise dealing with 
migratory birds, their parts, nests, or eggs during probation.  In 
addition, Taylor must allow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents to 
inspect his records to ensure compliance with probation.

An investigation by special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
uncovered Taylor's illegal activities.  Taylor, through his business, was 
involved in the purchase of taxidermy mounts, which were then sold to 
various public, scientific, and educational institutions in the 
Midwest.   The mounts were used in dioramas and other museum and 
interpretive displays.

Wildlife laws such as the Lacey Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
prohibit sale of migratory birds, as well as interstate transport of 
wildlife obtained in violation of state or Federal laws.

"Probably the most important protection these laws provide is protecting 
wildlife such as migratory game birds from commercialization for profit," 
said Service special agent Timothy Santel.  "By enforcing wildlife laws, 
we are trying to ensure that we will all have the opportunity to enjoy 
these resources in the future."

Santel and special agent Dan Burleson found that Taylor, acting under the 
guise of providing a taxidermy service, was purchasing migratory bird 
mounts and then reselling them to customers.  The agents discovered that 
Taylor's state taxidermy license had already been revoked for similar 
wildlife violations.  An investigation into the source of Taylor's supply 
of migratory birds is continuing.

Taylor pleaded guilty in October 1997 to violation of the Lacey Act, a 
Federal wildlife law that prohibits sale, possession, and transport of 
illegally obtained wildlife.  Taylor transported six bird mounts, 
including songbirds, a
great-horned owl, red-tailed hawk, and waterfowl, from Illinois to
Michigan. The mounts were purchased and resold by Taylor in violation of 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which protects waterfowl, songbirds, 
hawks, owls, and
many other game and non-game bird species.    In addition, Taylor's business
pleaded guilty to unlawfully selling migratory bird mounts, including 
waterfowl killed by hunters, to a museum in Michigan.

Maximum penalties for misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act can result 
in a fine of up to $100,000 and/or 1 year in prison.   Misdemeanor 
violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act carry maximum penalties of 
$5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, up to six months in 
prison, and possible loss of hunting privileges.  Enforced by the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, the act was passed in 1916 to stop the decline 
of bird populations which were being decimated by market hunters seeking 
meat, as well as feathers for the fashion industry.  Amended most 
recently in 1989, the act regulates sport hunting of migratory game birds 
and provides full protection for many other species of migratory birds.

-FWS-



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