A Canadian woman, Vanessa Rondeau, was arrested and charged with the illegal sale and transportation of polar bear skulls to an agent pretending to be a buyer in Buffalo, New York.
A statement released by the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York confirmed the incident.
The charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Rondeau, 26, was released on $50,000 bail and will appear next in court in mid-June, World Animal News reported.
“On December 3, 2019, and again on December 28, 2019, Rondeau offered a polar bear skull for sale. The post included photographs listed an asking price of $750 dollars (in the first posting) and $799 (in the second posting). The post instructed interested buyers to “pm [private message] if interested.” On January 13, 2020, in a covert capacity, the USFWS Special Agent contacted the defendant and requested photos of any available polar bear skulls. Rondeau sent a photograph of a polar bear skull with a comment that it was her “Last one.” The defendant offered to sell the polar bear skull for $750, plus $30 for shipping to Buffalo, NY. After requesting and receiving additional photographs, the Special Agent agreed to buy the polar bear skull. The Special Agent received the polar bear skull on February 2, 2020,” the Justice Department’s statement read.
The items for sale violated the Endangered Species Act, the Justice Department’s documents allege.
Rondeau owns and operates a business called The Old Cavern Boutique, which sells a “variety of unique curiosity and oddity items, many composed in whole or in part from wildlife.” Many of the items posted for sale are protected under federal laws.
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This article was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 8 June 2021. Lead Image Source: Zhiltsov Alexandr/ Shutterstock.com.
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