'Wild Recon' host admits to selling rare lizards

Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2010 file photo provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau, world-renowned animal adventurer and venom expert Donald Schultz prepares for a stunt called "Venom in Vegas," outside O'Sheas Casino in Las Vegas. Schultz, of Playa Vista, the former host of Animal Planet’s “Wild Recon” television show, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, in federal court to one count of violating the Endangered Species Act by offering to sell, and selling, two live desert monitor lizards in interstate commerce. Schultz 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. As part of a plea deal, Schultz is expected to be sentenced Jan. 28 to two years probation and 200 hours of community service. (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Glenn Pinkerton, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former host of Animal Planet's "Wild Recon" show admitted Tuesday that he sold two endangered Iranian desert monitor lizards without a permit.

Donald Schultz pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to violating the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. attorney's office said.

As part of a plea deal, Schultz agreed to pay a $6,000 fine and $3,000 restitution, as recommended by prosecutors, and to perform 200 hours of community service.

Schultz's lawyer, Ken Miller, said he didn't want to comment on the plea because the case is ongoing, but he wanted to clarify that the lizards were Schultz's personal pets, and they were "captive, born and bred in the United States."

Schultz sold the rare lizards for $2,500 to an undercover federal wildlife agent who answered his 2010 offer on Facebook. A federal agent received the lizards in Buffalo, N.Y., and took them into custody.

On his show, Schultz parachuted into remote locations to take biological samples from deadly snakes and other dangerous animals.