A man in Israel has been sentenced to spend seven months in prison for possessing a porcupine. Dubbed by locals as a “serial porcupine hunter,” Rami Fahmawhi has a longstanding track record of hunting porcupines, which are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a protected species of least concern.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) first caught him with two full sacks full of quills and other Indian crested porcupine body parts, including pieces of stomach, in 2009, and he was soon indicted for the crime. But that didn’t stop the serial hunter from pursuing more of his prey.
Despite his 2009 brush with the law, Fahmawhi continued to hunt porcupines, although it is unknown how frequently he evaded the park authorities. Then in February this year he was again caught with at least one porcupine in his possession.
The Haifa District Court issued a $2,600 fine (NIS 10,000) but INPA was not satisfied that this sentence adequately punished the crime and so they appealed the judge’s decision.
The court accepted the appeal and Fahmawhi is expected to begin his prison sentence next month.
This is a major achievement in the struggle to preserve wildlife and in the struggle against criminals hunting and possessing protected wildlife without a permit,” according to a statement released by INPA.
The judges who overturned the fine, Shmuel Berliner, Igal Grill and Bracha Bar-Ziv, wrote that “The law defines both the terms ‘hunting’ and ‘confining’ as violations of the wild animal protection law. This is not a ‘minor’ infringement that does not justify applying the suspended sentence.”
Porcupine meat is a sought after commodity on the black market, where they sell for up to $200 each, and porcupines suffer a great deal when monogamous families are broken up by poachers.
Image of porcupine, Shutterstock