Man fined $5,000 for bird kills

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2002

HATTIESBURG — A Monticello man has been fined $5,000 forkilling at least 171 migratory birds and other wildlife bypoisoning them with corn laced with the liquid insecticideCarbofuran.

James A. Selman pleaded guilty on Sept. 13 to a one-countviolation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the federal court inHattiesburg. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits the killing,capture, or harm of any migratory bird, except as allowed byfederal regulations.

In March 2000, law enforcement agents with the U.S. Fish andWildlife Service and two state agencies, the Mississippi Departmentof Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) and the MississippiDepartment of Environmental Quality (DEQ), responded to complaintsfrom several people who reported seeing dead and dying birds in twosouth Lawrence County cornfields.

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Special agents and conservation officers investigated and foundthat the two cornfields were leased by Selman. The investigatorsfound numerous doves, hawks, crows, warblers, and pipers layingdead on the fields.

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

“We contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the threeagencies worked cooperatively to solve the case,” concludedCummins.

The misuse of agricultural pesticides to poison wildlife is anindiscriminate killer posing a threat to any living being who comesinto contact with the bait, another official said.

“Federal regulations and labeling instructions clearly prohibitsuch utilization of the products,” said Thomas R. Riley, specialagent in charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division ofLaw Enforcement in the Southeast Region. “Our special agents willvigorously pursue the investigation and prosecution of any personswho are illegally poisoning America’s fish and wildliferesources.”