FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2001
United States Attorney Eddie J. Jordan has announced the sentencing of Bradford B. Hernandez, age 37, of Pearl River for shooting a Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus). Hernandez pled guilty to the illegal take of a federally listed threatened species on February 13, before New Orleans U. S. Magistrate Judge Lance Africk.
Hernandez was sentenced to pay a $2,500 fine and to make restitution to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in the amount of $9,000 for the value of the wildlife. He also was placed on probation for a period of three years during which time he may not hunt and was ordered to make a $500 donation to the Louisiana Black Bear Conservation Committee, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Louisiana black bear.
"Killing this bear was a senseless act," said Sam D. Hamilton, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southeast Regional Director. "Particularly when we have so many people working to preserve the species - - the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Louisiana Black Bear Conservation Committee, the Fish and Wildlife Service and others."
Hernandez was deer hunting near Napoleonville when he shot the 200 to 250-pound bear from an elevated deer stand on December 2, 2000.
"With the educational effort that has been in place for the past 10 years, there is absolutely no excuse for anyone killing a Louisiana black bear," said Paul Davidson, Executive Director of the Black Bear Conservation Committee. "I have received dozens of calls from citizens who are outraged by the shooting."
"We will aggressively investigate and prosecute these types of violations," said Robert Oliveri, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resident Agent in Charge of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. "The Department of Justice, Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are committed to protecting the Louisiana black bear."
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Blackmer with the Department of Justice's Wildlife Section.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses 531 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http:/southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.
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