Bald Eagle Poaching Lands Canadian Men in Jail

Two Canadian men will be serving hard time for killing eagles in British Columbia, reports the Montreal Gazette.

Cousins Jerome and William Seymore went to trial in April and were convicted of multiple counts of killing and selling bald eagles, along with swans and other animals. As a result, they were sentenced to jail this week, but it wasn't without a fight.

The men argued that they had an aboriginal right to own eagle "parts," and only hunted the birds after being coerced by undercover agents. In most parts of Canada, aboriginal rights are given to First Nations individuals whose ancestors were hunting and fishing for food or certain forms of commercial trading before Europeans arrived in the territories. But the judge felt that the men's hunting crossed the line, so to speak, and went beyond traditional or cultural purposes.

"I have concluded that the principles of denunciation and deterrence require me to impose a jail sentence as our precious wildlife must be protected and a strong message sent," said judge Michael Hubbard. The judge ruled that the men were seeking to profit from their kills, and as a result, booked Jerome Seymore to 48 days in jail, and William Seymour to nine days in the slammer.