BUFFALO (WENY) – A Buffalo area man was sentenced to prison for trafficking African wild cats.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Western New York, Christopher Casacci of Amherst New York, trafficked exotic African cats like servals and caracals. He sold them for up to 10 thousand dollars each.
“Selling wild animals as pets not only breaks the law, but also endangers local communities and environments,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). “The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the public and our native wildlife from the irresponsible actions of wildlife traffickers.”
Casacci claimed that he was operating as a big cat rescue organization in an attempt to avoid New York laws against possessing and selling wild animals. He also forged transport documents to hide the true species of the cats, instead calling the animals domestic crossbreeds.
“Wildlife trafficking is decimating the world’s natural resources,” said Assistant Director Edward Grace of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Office of Law Enforcement.
Caracals, also known as the “desert lynx,” are wild cats native to Africa that grow to approximately 45 pounds.
Servals, also wild cats native to Africa, grow to approximately 40 pounds.
Casacci was previously indicted for his actions in January of 2020.