Former Animal Planet TV Host Sentenced
For Illegal Lizard Sale
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[March 26, 2014]
(Reuters) — Donald Schultz, the
former host of a popular Animal Planet TV show featuring some of the
world's most deadly creatures, was sentenced in a California federal
court on Tuesday to community service and $9,000 in fines for selling
two endangered lizards online.
Schultz had pleaded guilty last year to trying to sell the desert
monitor lizards to an undercover federal agent who answered a 2010
online ad seeking about $3,000 for the reptiles, according to
officials at U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of
The former host of Animal Planet's "Wild Recon" was charged with one
count of violating the Endangered Species Act, a federal law that
protects and recovers imperiled species and ecosystems.
According to federal prosecutors, Schultz met with an undercover
agent posing as a prospective buyer at his home in Los Angeles where
he agreed to ship the reptiles to another buyer in Buffalo, New
The desert monitors, a species of monitor lizard found in North
Africa and South Asia, were recovered by a federal agent in New
Under a plea deal, Schultz agreed to pay a $6,000 fine, $3,000 in
restitution and 200 hours of community service, prosecutors said.
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Schultz, who hails from South Africa, has made his living in
handling and researching the world's most dangerous animals, insects
and reptiles. Three years ago, he spent 10 days in a glass box in
Las Vegas with 100 venomous snakes to "test the limits of
human/serpentine co-habitation," according to a statement from
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; editing by Scott Malone and G.
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