Endangered Species - Enforcement and Penalties - South Carolina

(A) A person or public or private entity is liable to the State for the unlawful gross destruction of or injury to wildlife, aquatic life, endangered or threatened species, or the lands or waters owned by the State. For a deliberate or grossly negligent act, the State must be awarded damages of three times the value of the resource affected, plus costs, including attorney's fees. Monies paid in satisfaction of these claims must be used to restore, replenish, or enhance wildlife, aquatic life, endangered or threatened species, or the lands or waters owned by the State. For purposes of this section, the injury or damages must be caused by other than pollution.

(B) The department is the agency primarily responsible for the enforcement and implementation of this section. Other state agencies and governmental entities shall cooperate with the department in an effort to investigate the causes of the destruction or injury and shall assist in collecting the appropriate damages.

(C) This section does not apply to ordinary agricultural practices.

Citation: Code 1976 § 50-1-270.

(A) It is unlawful for a person, or a group of individuals traveling in one vehicle, to remove, or attempt to remove from this State more than ten, either in one species or a combination of species, of the named species of turtles at one time with a maximum of twenty turtles of these species, either individually or in combination in any one year: yellowbelly turtle (Trachemys scripta), Florida cooter (Pseudemys floridana), river cooter (Pseudemys concinna), chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia), eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina), eastern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta), spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera), Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox), and common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).

(B) The provisions of this section do not prohibit the sale, offer for sale, or purchase of the yellowbelly turtle (Trachemys scripta) species and the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) species if these turtles were taken from a permitted aquaculture facility or a private pond pursuant to a permit issued by the department at the request of the owner or owner's agent. Any person transporting more than ten yellowbelly turtle (Trachemys scripta) species or common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) species must be in possession of a permit pursuant to which the turtles were taken or acquired and, upon request, must provide it to authorized agents of the department. A person selling, offering to sell, or purchasing these species must have documentation from the aquaculture facility as to the origin of the turtles. The department may charge twenty-five dollars for a permit.

(C) A person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine of up to two hundred dollars or up to thirty days in jail, or both. A violator also must have his permit permanently revoked and may never be issued another one. Each turtle removed or in possession of a person attempting to remove them is a separate violation of this section.

Citation: Code 1976 § 50-15-70.

...(B) A person who violates Section 50-15-30(C) or regulations promulgated pursuant to it or a person who fails to procure or violates the terms of a permit issued pursuant to Section 50-15-40(D) and (E) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(C) An enforcement officer employed and authorized by the department or a police officer of the State or a municipality or county within the State may conduct searches as provided by law and execute a warrant to search for and seize equipment, business records, merchandise, or wildlife taken, used, or possessed in connection with a violation of this article. The officer or agency, without a warrant, may arrest a person who the officer or agent has probable cause to believe is violating, in his presence or view, the article or a regulation or permit provided for by it. An officer or agent who has made an arrest of a person in connection with a violation may search the person or business records at the time of arrest and seize wildlife, records, or property taken or used in connection with the violation.

(D) Equipment, merchandise, wildlife, or records seized under subsection (C) must be held by an officer or agent of the department pending disposition of court proceedings and forfeited to the State for destruction or disposition as the board considers appropriate. Before forfeiture, the board may direct the transfer of wildlife seized to a qualified zoological, educational, or scientific institution for safekeeping. The costs of the transfer are assessable to the defendant. The department may promulgate regulations to implement this subsection.

Citation: Code 1976 § 50-15-80.

None of the provisions of this article shall be construed to apply retroactively or to prohibit importation into the State of wildlife which may be lawfully imported into the United States or lawfully taken or removed from another state or to prohibit entry into the State or possession, transportation, exportation, processing, sale or offer for sale, or shipment of any wildlife whose species or subspecies is deemed to be threatened with statewide extinction in this State but not in the state where originally taken if the person engaging therein demonstrates by substantial evidence that such wildlife was lawfully taken or removed from such state; provided, that this section shall not be construed to permit the possession, transportation, exportation, processing, sale or offer for sale, or shipment within this State of wildlife on the United States' List of Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife, as amended and accepted in accordance with Section 50-15-30(D), except as permitted in the proviso to Section 50-15-30(C) and Section 50-15-40(D).

Citation: Code 1976 § 50-15-90.