Moving an endangered tortoise or other threatened animal could bring a jail sentence under a bill passed Wednesday by the Senate.
It passed SB163 on a 23-0 vote, and was sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
Bill sponsor Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, said earlier that she believes the state should protect itself from illegal efforts to locate imperiled animals here.
Division of Wildlife Resources Director Greg Sheehan argues the department is obligated to manage resources for populations of listed species, even if the population was established illegally.
"We don't want to have backyard biologists deciding what these populations ought to look like and where they reside," he said in earlier testimony.