A Pacifica man has pleaded guilty in federal court to selling taxidermy mounts of a Siberian tiger, polar bear, a bald eagle and other endangered animals on Craigslist. James Dickson, 57, entered the plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to a felony count of illegal trade of protected wildlife. He could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced July 12 by Judge William Alsup.
Dickson admitted that he sold a mounted American bald eagle to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service undercover agent for $2,200 in cash in November 2009. The sale came a month after the agent contacted Dickson, inquiring about a Craigslist ad Dickson had placed offering a stuffed polar bear for $6,500.
"When asked about purchasing the polar bear, Mr. Dickson explained that it was illegal to have a polar bear in the United States," federal prosecutors said. "At the time, Mr. Dickson also tried to sell the agent a black bear mount and further explained that it was also illegal to sell the black bear and he could go to jail for doing so."
Dickson also admitted to selling or offering numerous other protected big game animals on Craigslist, including taxidermy mounts of a Kodiak bear for $14,000, a Siberian tiger for $15,000, a black bear for $3,800, the summer coat of a grizzly bear for $4,500, the shoulder mount of a grizzly bear for $2,500, a cheetah rug for $900 and a stuffed black panther for $4,500.
California Penal Code § 689, Requisites for Conviction
No person can be convicted of a public offense unless by verdict of a jury, accepted and recorded by the court, by a finding of the court in a case where a jury has been waived, or by a plea of guilty.