Environment Canada

Environment Canada

August 07, 2008 16:22 ET

Baird Hails Successful Conclusion to Elephant Ivory Smuggling Sting

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 7, 2008) - Canada's Environment Minister John Baird today congratulated Canadian and American enforcement officers for a big victory in the battle against international elephant ivory smuggling.

After a multi-year, cross-border investigation, a major ivory smuggler was sentenced to five years in a federal prison in the United States and ordered to pay a fine of $100,000 US.

"When it comes to environmental protection, Canada is taking the lead through a $22 million investment to increase enforcement efforts to stop illegal activities like these," said Minister Baird. "I am pleased to see the cooperative success of both Canadian and U.S. officials which has resulted in one of the most significant sentences ever for ivory smuggling in North America."

Former Montreal resident, Tania Julie Siyam, 32 years old, pleaded guilty to charges in U.S. District Court, Akron, Ohio. Siyam smuggled African elephant ivory from Cameroon to the U.S., both directly into and through Canada.

The $100,000 fine will be given to the African Elephant Conservation Fund which supports projects that enhance sustainable conservation programs to ensure effective, long-term conservation of African elephants.

Wild populations of African elephants, the main source of ivory, have dropped by approximately 75% in the last 40 years. They are protected by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which strictly controls international trade in ivory, and thousands of other threatened species and their products and derivatives.

Canada is one of 172 CITES member countries work closely together to stop the illegal trade of endangered plants and animals.

The public is invited to report incidents of smuggling wildlife to Environment Canada toll free at 1-800-463-4311. For more information on the CITES in Canada, please visit www.cites.ca.

Egalement offert en francais

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Chris Day
    Press Secretary
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Daniel H. LeClair
    Sandusky, Ohio
    Environment Canada Media Relations
    U.S. Department of Justice
    Phillip J. Tripi
    Assistant United States Attorney
    Cleveland, Ohio