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Alberta taxidermist fined $20K for importing black bear hide from Alaska

A southern Alberta taxidermist has been fined for illegally importing a black bear hide from Alaska.

Fredrick Thomson of Coaldale, Alta., also faces 2-year hunting ban outside of Canada

A black bear stands near the side of Highway 881 near Conklin, Alta., on Tuesday May 10, 2016. Taxidermist Fred Thomson has been sentenced for importing a black bear hide. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

A southern Alberta taxidermist has been fined for illegally importing a black bear hide from Alaska.

Fredrick Thomson of Coaldale, Alta., has been ordered to pay a fine of $20,000 and slapped with a temporary ban on hunting outside of Canada, a federal agency said in a Tuesday release.

Coaldale is about 15 kilometres east of Lethbridge.

Thomson was sentenced Jan. 18 after being convicted of importing and possessing the hide, thus violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act in October.

Thomson has to give up the hide and can't hunt out of the country for two years. He's also banned from importing and exporting animals and their parts for that period, if it's not related to his taxidermy business.

Fred Thomson of Thomson Taxidermy Studio in Coaldale, Alta., has been sentenced for illegally importing and possessing a black bear hide from Alaska. (Google Maps)

"U.S. authorities initially determined that several Alberta hunters were illegally killing Alaskan brown bears and unlawfully importing them into Canada," Environment and Climate Change Canada said in a statement.

Then Environment and Climate Change Canada's enforcement branch, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and Alberta Justice and Solicitor General (Fish and Wildlife Enforcement) worked together to on the case to enforce their respective laws protecting wildlife.

So far, under what they collectively call Operation Bruin, six Canadians and two Americans have been convicted in Canada with penalties totalling more than $85,000.

Wildlife crimes can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) and could result in a reward of up to $2,000.

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