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Mississippi Man Sentenced for Killing a Louisiana Black Bear


December 11, 2002

Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291

A Grace, Mississippi man, Eric Wade Mobley, pled guilty last week in the Southern District of Mississippi federal court to one count of violating the Lacey Act for killing a Louisiana black bear, a species federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Magistrate James Sumner ordered Mobley to pay nearly $10,000 for killing the bear. Judge Sumner awarded $4,000 in restitution to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, $3,000 in restitution to the Mississippi Black Bear Restoration Task Force, a fine of $2,000, and a $662 veterinary bill. In addition, Mobley will be required to perform 20 hours of community service with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks Hunter Education Program and placed on a one-year probation with the condition that he cannot hunt any where in the world.

“Protection of the threatened Louisiana black bear is a high priority in this area and with help from Conservation Officers of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, we were able to successfully resolve this case,” said Robert Oliveri, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resident Agent in Charge in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “Enforcement of federal and state conservation laws is a vital part of wildlife conservation and management.”

According to Oliveri, the bear’s remains were discovered a year ago in a slough at an Issaquena County, Mississippi hunting club. The head and paws had been removed from the carcass. Law Enforcement officers and a veterinarian conducted a forensics examination of the bear and obtained bullet fragments from the fatal shot. The investigators then conducted interviews and discovered information leading to Mobley.

“I swore that I would never admit to killing that bear,”said Mobley after investigators searched his home. They found the rifle used to shoot the bear hidden in a storage building. Mobley admitted that he had killed the bear, cut off the head and paws, and stated that he was scared so he dumped the bear parts in Steel Bayou, Mississippi. The Search and Rescue Dive Team of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission explored the cold waters of Steel Bayou for two days, but did not find the bear parts.

“This case was an intensive, investigative effort involving the State of Mississippi, the State of Arkansas and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Lt. Colonel John Collins of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. “The Law Enforcement Officers used competent investigative skills in obtaining a confession and bringing this case to justice.”

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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 70 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.

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