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Monticello Man Fined for Killing Migratory Birds



September 18, 2002

Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291

A Monticello, Mississippi man, James A. Selman was fined $5,000 last week for killing at least 171 migratory birds and other wildlife by poisoning them with corn laced with the liquid insecticide Carbofuran. On September 13, Selman pled guilty to a one-count violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the federal court in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits the killing, capture, or harm of any migratory bird, except as allowed by federal regulations.

In March 2000, law enforcement agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and two state agencies, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) , responded to complaints from several people who reported seeing dead and dying birds in two south Lawrence County cornfields. Special Agents and Conservation Officers investigated and found that the two cornfields were leased by Selman. The investigators found numerous doves, hawks, crows, warblers, and pipers laying dead on the fields.

“One person told officers they saw wild turkeys feeding in a field and acting strangely. Two turkeys were found dead,” said Robert Oliveri, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resident Agent in Charge in Mississippi. “These discoveries occurred just before the opening of the youth turkey hunt in Lawrence County, and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks had to issue a turkey advisory to protect hunters.”

“Our local sportsmen helped us become aware of this case. Conservation Officers from our agency and DEQ were dispatched to the cornfields,” said Captain Jamie Cummins of the District Office of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. “There was a drought two years ago, and dead birds were visible in these fields. Several of us actually saw a red-tailed hawk dive into a field and feed on a dead dove. The hawk died shortly afterward.”

“We contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the three agencies worked cooperatively to solve the case,” concluded Cummins.

“The misuse of agricultural pesticides to poison wildlife is an indiscriminate killer posing a threat to any living being who comes into contact with the bait. Federal regulations and labeling instructions clearly prohibit such utilization of the products,” said Thomas R. Riley, Special Agent in charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Law Enforcement in the Southeast Region. “Our Special Agents will vigorously pursue the investigation and prosecution of any persons who are illegally poisoning America’s fish and wildlife resources.”

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2001 News Releases

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