An Ontario taxidermist has been fined $60,000 after officials say he violated federal wildlife law for unlawful polar bear exports.

In a news release issued Monday, Environment and Climate Change Canada said its team began an investigation in the summer of 2018 after discovering “inconsistent information” in the export permits used to export a polar bear mount and two hides from Ontario to China.

According to the government agency, under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA), exporters must obtain a permit before exporting regulated species from Canada.

“The investigation revealed that (the accused) was deceptive and planned extensively in intentionally providing false and misleading information to obtain the permit, contrary to section 11 of WAPPRIITA,” the news release read.

Officials said on September 12, 2023, Cyril D’Souza, an Ontario taxidermist, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Oshawa to two counts of violating WAPPRIITA.

The $60,000 fine he faces will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environment Damages Fund, the release stated.

The agency says it has a “three-pronged approach” when it comes to polar bear conservation and management, which involves tracking legal polar bear hides once they enter the trade and ensuring exporters comply with regulations.

“The three elements of the approach include: analyzing the muscle tissue DNA, analyzing the stable isotope of fur samples, and inserting encrypted microchips to track polar bear parts from harvest through export,” the news release continued.

“The collaboration with law enforcement agencies in Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and in the United States was key in the investigation.”