Jim Oesterle, Asst. U.S. Attorney for Western District of Washington

by | Aug 15, 2018

Jim. Oesterle—an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, who, earlier this summer, served as a faculty member for a two-week course on Combating Illegal Wildlife Trafficking at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, Botswana–describes what’s involved in leading the office’s environmental crimes working group, and prosecuting offenses under all the environmental statues. Oesterle traces his academic and professional path, including earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in Resource Management, attending law school, afterward heading first into private practice, then working for the Environmental Protection Agency for 12 years, before landing in the U.S. Attorney’s office. Noting that Seattle is an international port, Oesterle discusses some of the cases his office has handled, dealing with illegal wildlife trafficking, including one involving narwhal tusks (prized because they’re ivory and can grow to seven or eight feet long) and another involving exotic and other turtles, some smuggled by being largely wrapped in medical tape (to immobilize the animals) and then placed in socks. He recounts how he received an invitation to be part of the teaching staff for the course in Botswana, how the two-week session was structured, what topics he taught, what he learned along the way. Oesterle underscores the surprising-to-many fact that, in Africa, the most trafficked animal is not the elephant, and not the rhino, but is the pangolin, which looks like an anteater covered in scales. (They are poached for their scales and for their meat.) He also addresses the not infrequent use of armed squads in national parks and elsewhere to help protect the animals from poaching.



ALSO: I spoke with Don Goldstein, Talking Animals’ “Greyhound Correspondent,” who helped us sort out—and call attention to—some machinations that recently enveloped Amendment 13, which, if passed, would end greyhound racing in Florida over the next three years. The Amendment landed on the ballot, with voters determining the outcome on Election Day, Nov. 6. But the Florida Greyhound Association, which represents breeders, owners, and trained, filed a lawsuit, arguing that Amendment 13 should be removed from the ballot, because it would be misleading to voters. Judge Karen Gievers, in an Aug. 1 ruling, agreed. The state has appealed that decision, and the state Supreme Court is hearing that appeal on Aug. 29.

COMEDY CORNER: Tom Papa’s “Fake Service Dogs”   (http://tompapa.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Bob Dylan’s “Man Gave Names To All The Animals”


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