A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney has been ordered to pay a $25,000 fine after selling a mounted southern white rhinoceros, the Nevada U.S. attorney’s office announced Friday.
Jack Ely Buchanan, 37, had previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Endangered Species Act, designed to protect any species listed as endangered or threatened. In addition to the fine, Buchanan was sentenced on Jan. 10 to two years probation and 40 hours of community service.
In 2014, Buchanan sold the rhinoceros mount, which was made with real rhino hide and horns, to a Minnesota man for $6,500, according to court documents. The buyer had traveled to Las Vegas for the mount, and drove it home to Minnesota in a rented moving truck.
A few days later, according to the documents, Buchanan sent the buyer a transfer of ownership note that “falsely characterized” the transfer as “not for purposes of sale, but an in-kind donation of property.”
Rhinoceros horns are in high demand in Southeast Asia, according to the U.S. attorney’s office, and the illegal sale of rhino parts “fuel the lucrative black market and indirectly contribute to the illegal take of rhinos in the wild.”
The son of James “Bucky” Buchanan, a well-known Las Vegas attorney, Jack Buchanan took over his family’s private practice in 2009 after his father’s death in a car crash.
He has been licensed to practice in Nevada since October 2008, according to state bar records.