A former federal wildlife manager who says he moved about 400 protected tadpoles from a backyard pond to a refuge for their own safety has agreed to pay a $3,500 fine to avoid a criminal charge.
TUCSON, Ariz. A former federal wildlife manager who says he moved about 400 protected tadpoles from a backyard pond to a refuge for their own safety has agreed to pay a $3,500 fine to avoid a criminal charge.
Wayne Shifflett, the longtime manager of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, said he was afraid the tadpoles would be eaten by frogs.
The tadpoles were young Chiricahua leopard frogs, which have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 2002. Permits are typically required to handle or move protected animals. Harming them can be a federal crime.
"My goal all the time was to save the Chiricahua leopard frog, which I did," Shifflett said Tuesday. "To me, the $3,500 was a small investment."
Shifflett predicted that he could have beaten accusations that he illegally moved wildlife onto a refuge, but opted to pay the fine last week.
Shifflett was removed from his post at the 118,000-acre refuge last year after an investigation. He retired last May.
Sue Chilton, a state game and fish commissioner, said Shifflett "can't assume that because he had a noble goal that excuses him from following the procedures."
Source: Associated Press