Was the sale of this formation on Ebay illegal?

Cave conservation issues, techniques, questions. Also visit the NSS Cave Conservation and Management Section.

Moderator: Moderators

Was the sale of this formation on Ebay illegal?

Postby cmkit » May 6, 2014 10:17 am

My understanding of the 1988 cave resources protection act is that it should punish the sale of cave formations taken from a cave on federal lands regardless of when it was actually removed.

A formation from an AZ cave was recently sold on ebay and the USDA law enforcement chose not to pursue it. Am I misreading the law or is law enforcement actively choosing not to enforce a law fundamental to the future protection of caves?

Multiple people also reported this sale to ebay, but the sale was allowed to proceed.

Link to the ebay listing:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ARAGONITE-crystals-on-matrix-Cave-of-the-Bells-Arizona-/191153226863?ssPageName=ADME:B:WNA:US:3160
Grotto locator and kml files: http://cmkit.blogspot.com/
cmkit
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 27, 2010 1:22 am
Name: Carlin Kartchner
NSS #: 60593
  

Re: Was the sale of this formation on Ebay illegal?

Postby Caving Guru » May 6, 2014 2:40 pm

I see that they have several other types of crystals that they have sold in the past so it may be legal. Or maybe law enforcement was just not aware of this transaction. Or maybe Ebay didn't stop the transaction because they saw the similarity between the aragonite crystals and the other crystals that were sold by this individual.
Caving Guru
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Jun 21, 2012 2:57 pm
  

Re: Was the sale of this formation on Ebay illegal?

Postby cmkit » May 6, 2014 9:26 pm

UPDATE -- EXCELLENT NEWS!

Excerpt from an email sent by another AZ caver in the last couple hours:
I had to return a key for Bells this morning and, while there, I visited with *****, the Law Enforcement guy for the FS. Today he spoke again with the seller, this time telling him who he was. The seller agreed to cancel the sale on ebay and he is turning over a whole flat of vandalized speleothems from Bells !!! The
Forest Service will be receiving them shortly and distributing them to Ranger Stations, museums, etc (without the info on where they came from of course.)


I was pretty depressed and frustrated after the sale went through on ebay but it's nice to see this law actually put into action to help protect the places we love. :banana_yay:
Grotto locator and kml files: http://cmkit.blogspot.com/
cmkit
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 27, 2010 1:22 am
Name: Carlin Kartchner
NSS #: 60593
  

Re: Was the sale of this formation on Ebay illegal?

Postby Larry E. Matthews » May 8, 2014 9:12 pm

I think the key to whether a "sale" is illegal, or not, is the source of the formation.

If it was illegally collected (i.e. stolen) on Federal property or Private property, then it cannot be legally sold, because it is STOLEN PROPERTY.

However, if it is legally collected, then it would be a different story. Most states do not prohibit a property owner from "mining" his own cave.

But again, you have to look at all the laws.

Larry E. Matthews
NSS #6792-F
Larry E. Matthews
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 968
Joined: Sep 6, 2005 3:05 pm
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
NSS #: 6792
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Nashville Grotto
  


Return to Conservation Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users