Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. Cracks Down on Illegal Sales of Animals

Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. Cracks Down on Illegal Sales of Animals
7 years 5 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, January 12 2017 Jan 12, 2017 January 12, 2017 6:28 PM January 12, 2017 in News

BROWNSVILLE - A state wildlife agency said they’re taking a closer look at animal online advertisements.

Officials said people can find almost anything for sale online. Some of what they might find may also be illegal.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had a record year of catching unlicensed people in possession of protected species in 2016.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Capt. James Dunks said they became aware of a number of people trying to sell various species of animals online. He said the department continues enforcing laws protecting wildlife.

“Just recently we had a Harris hawk that they were trying to sell on Facebook,” he said. 

Dunks said the Harris hawk is a protected species. He said people can legally possess the bird as long as they have the proper training and license to do so.

“Almost daily we’re getting some type of phone call on somebody trying to sell something illegal as far as a wildlife resource online,” Dunks said. “We’ve seen a lot of people trying to sell baby owls, and hawks and turtles.”

Dr. Thomas Demaar is a senior veterinarian at the Gladys Porter Zoo. He said wildlife animals pose a risk to anyone who comes in contact, possibly a disease transfer.

“The danger to the people is that birds have a variety of weapons. They have talons. They have beaks. They can bite. They can claw. They can cause rather serious wounds very quickly,” he said.

Dunks said they were able to track down the seller of the Harris hawk with the help of game wardens in the Hidalgo County area. He said they took possession of the animal and admitted him to a local licensed rehabilitation facility.

The seller is facing multiple charges for possession without a permit and attempted sale. Anyone that comes across a wildlife animal being sold online can call 1-800-729-4263.

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