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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Former Animal Planet Television Network Host Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge Of Selling Endangered Wildlife

LOS ANGELES -- Donald Schultz, the former host of Animal Planet’s “Wild Recon” television show, pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of violating the Endangered Species Act for selling two desert monitor lizards (Varanus griseus).

Schultz, 35, of Playa Vista, admitted in court that on July 29, 2010, he sold the two live desert monitor lizards to an undercover agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who was posing as a prospective buyer. After meeting with the undercover agent at his residence to finalize the deal, Schultz agreed to ship the two live desert monitors from Los Angeles to Buffalo, New York, via airplane  A federal agent then received the monitors in New York and took them into custody.

Schultz had never been issued a permit to sell the two lizards. Desert monitor lizards are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Schultz is scheduled to be sentenced by United States Magistrate Judge Victor B. Kenton on January 28.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, Schultz has agreed to serve two years of probation, pay a $6,000 fine, pay restitution of $3,000, and perform 200 hours of community service.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Release No. 13-132

Updated June 22, 2015