West Texas A&M professor indicted for wildlife trafficking

CANYON, Texas (KCBD) – An associate professor of biology at West Texas A&M University in Canyon has been indicted for wildlife trafficking and violating the Endangered Species Act.

Dr. Richard Kazmaier, 54, is being charged with illegally importing wildlife items, including skulls, skeletons and taxidermy mounts, the US Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. The indictment alleges Kazmaier imported goods from around the world between March 2017 and February 2020.

The Endangered Species Act requires importers to declare wildlife, including parts and products, to US Customs and US Fish and Wildlife Services when entering the country.

Kazmaier is also being charged with importing wildlife items from 14 protected species, including the Eurasian otter, lynx, caracal, vervet monkey, greater naked-tailed armadillo, and king bird-of-paradise.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for felony smuggling. The two Endangered Species Act charges are misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of one year incarceration and a $100,000 fine, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Kazmaier has been a faculty member at WTAMU since 2001. At the time of publishing, the university had removed his biography from its website.

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