Texas Biologist Imprisoned for Importing Wildlife Oddities


Dr. Richard Kazmaier | Image by West Texas A&M University

A former biology professor at West Texas A&M University was given a six-month prison term on Tuesday for bringing endangered animals into the country.

The 55-year-old Dr. Richard Kazmaier also has to pay a $5,000 fine and complete three years of post-release supervision, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

A federal judge in Amarillo handed Kazmaier his sentence after he pleaded guilty before the court on August 19. By bringing in protected wildlife without first declaring it or getting the necessary permits, Kazmaier admitted to violating the Lacey Act, a law that tries to stop the illegal trade of animals, fish, and plants.

A federal grand jury charged him with breaking the Endangered Species Act twice and smuggling goods into the country after he left West Texas A&M in October.

Kazmaier also pleaded guilty to a charge of giving false information under the Lacey Act, the very first law of its kind in the country. However, in response to a request from the government, the court threw out the charge.

Kazmaier admitted that between March 2013 and February 2020, he brought wildlife products into Texas from Bulgaria, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Latvia, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay without declaring them. In total, he brought in 14 protected species without the proper permits. These animals included a Eurasian otter, lynx, caracal, vervet monkey, greater naked-tailed armadillo, and king bird-of-paradise.

Kazmaier reportedly bought over 350 “wildlife items” from eBay and other online markets and brought them into the country. The total market value of these items was $14,423. However, none of the animals that he purchased were still alive. He mainly purchased taxidermy mounts, skeletons, and skulls.

The multilateral Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) controls the trade in threatened or endangered species by requiring permits. The U.S. is one of 183 countries that signed CITES in 1973 and that convenes every two to three years to amend its resolutions when necessary.

In total, he brought in 14 protected species without the proper permits. These animals included a Eurasian otter, lynx, caracal, vervet monkey, greater naked-tailed armadillo, and king bird-of-paradise.

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13 days ago

Go after real criminals!! This man should get a slap on the wrist like our criminals in Washington!! This man should have probation and a slap with no jail time!

Reply to  Anna
12 days ago

You did not read the article did you? .Or you would know He did only get a Mere Slap on the Wrist for doing this since at least 2013.! He got sentenced to a Mere 6 months in Prison & only a $5,000.00 Fine.So That is a Mere Slap on the Wrist considering How Many Times he Admitted to doing it ,What the DOJ knows he did it many more times then he plea bargained down to only 2 though there were many more And This ends up being a bad & expensive problem.Look at Florida with its problems with this .The Pythons& Boa Constrictors are costing the State of Florida Billions of dollars now .And The rabbits are causing all matter of problems & billions of dollars of yearly And the Cane Toads too.New Zealand has the same problems now with Stoats.Ect.Because this is illegal Blacketmarketing .And it is illegal Trafficking in those Endangered items&Species.This are Very Serious,& Very Expensive Crimes.And it is Illegal & does need to be Stopped!

Last edited 12 days ago by DEVI LaFae WELCH
Reply to  DEVI LaFae WELCH
12 days ago

But….they were already dead. They are not going to be breeding.