Florida Flying Squirrel Poaching Ring Arrested, 3,600 Rodents Trafficked Internationally
24 Octobre, 2020, 18:37 | Auteur: Therese Cote
State and federal task forces were created to investigate the operation, which was first reported by a concerned citizen in January 2019. He was charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, racketeering, scheme to defraud, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.
More than 10,000 squirrel traps were deployed to catch as many as 3,600 flying squirrels in less than three years, said a report by The Hill, noting the total estimated cost after worldwide sales is upwards of a million dollars. Knox was arrested in April.
The removal of the trafficked squirrels from their ecosystems could have an impact on their predators, like owls and "rat snakes that are really good climbers", Johnson said, though because the squirrels have a high reproductive rate, the population will most likely be able to bounce back fairly quickly from the poaching. The flying squirrels are nocturnal and are probably a nuisance to have around at night.
The FWC was aided in its investigation by the Illinois Conservation Police, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as well as U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.
This wildlife dealer who is from Florida too, worked with couriers from Georgia who then drove these squirrels north to Chicago. Grant Burton, FWC Investigation's section leader, in a statement.
The agency said the Florida dealer received more than $213,000 for the animals.
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