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Rep. Tina Sablan: NMI law prohibits purposeful release of captive deer

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THE purposeful release of captive deer is illegal, Rep. Tina Sablan said on Monday, in reference to the release of four Sambar deer on Pagan during the promotional trip of “Deer Meat for Dinner” YouTube host Robert Arrington to the Northern Islands.

CNMI Public Law 17-23, Section 5 states, “Purposeful release of captive deer, especially domesticated progeny, into the wild is prohibited. Penalties for purposeful release of captive animals will be imposed and set by the Director but will not exceed $1,000 per animal. A person who has previously held a captive rearing permit and purposefully released animals into the wild will not be eligible to renew or obtain another permit.”

P.L. 17-23 became law in 2010 during the Fitial administration.

Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios said  the Department of Lands and Natural Resources issued a permit for the introduction of deer to Pagan.

Variety learned that the permit was issued on June 18 by DLNR Secretary Anthony T. Benavente to Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Priscilla Iakopo and Arrington, and includes several conditions.

 A June 27 “Deer Meat for Dinner” YouTube video shows four sambar deer captured on Saipan and released on  Pagan. Deer Meat for Dinner photo

“This permit authorizes the transfer of a family of sambar deer (one each male, female, and calf) from the island of Saipan for release on the island of Pagan,” DLNR Secretary Benavente wrote.

The permit also allows for the hunting of wild pigs, cows, and/or goats, as well as the catching of coconut crabs, lobster, and fish by Arrington, his team, crew, and anyone accompanying him on the expedition.

Benavente specified certain guidelines in which coconut crabs, lobster, and fish can be caught, saying that “the permittee, his team, crew, or any person accompanying Mr. Arrington are encouraged to keep records of all fish species caught in the Northern Islands for [Division of Fish and Wildlife] Fisheries Data records.”

The restrictions included the protection of endangered species such as fruit bats and green sea turtles.

Moreover, Benavente said, those who visited the Northern Islands may be subject to inspection by the DFW Conservation Enforcement staff upon their return from the Northern Islands.

 

 

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