Breaking! West Texas A&M University Biologist, Dr. Richard Kazmaier, Indicted For Illegal Wildlife Trafficking

Photos from West Texas A&M University

Late last week, Dr. Richard Kazmaier, an associate professor of biology at West Texas A&M University was indicted for smuggling wildlife parts into the United States and violating the Endangered Species Act.

As per an announcement by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, 54-year-old Kazmaier allegedly imported protected wildlife items into the country without declaring them or obtaining the required permits

Kazmaier has been a faculty member at West Texas A&M University since 2001. WAN was informed that Kazmaier was deleted from the staff directory on the West Texas A&M University website.

Meanwhile, Chip Chandler, Senior Communications Specialist for the University, told WAN that, “West Texas A&M University is aware of the situation involving a faculty member.” However, he stated that the institution does not comment on active court cases, but the indictment does not involve West Texas A&M University.

The Endangered Species Act and federal regulations require importers to declare wildlife, including parts and products, to customs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Between March of 2017 and February of 2020, Dr. Kazmaier imported wildlife items from around the world into the United States without declaring them. These items included skulls, skeletons, and taxidermy mounts.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulates trade in endangered or threatened species through permit requirements. The United States and 183 other countries are signatories to the CITES treaty.

The indictment also charges Dr. Kazmaier with importing wildlife items from 14 protected species without obtaining permits, including the Eurasian otter, lynx, caracal, and vervet monkey.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the felony smuggling charge. The two Endangered Species Act charges are misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of one year incarceration and a $100,000 fine.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement in Redmond, Washington, conducted the investigation as part of Operation Global Reach, targeting the trafficking of wildlife from Indonesia to the United States.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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