1 Tahrcountry Musings: Reptile Smuggling Attempt Foiled in Australia - A Guest Post

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reptile Smuggling Attempt Foiled in Australia - A Guest Post

According to an Australian news site, a man was arrested for attempting to smuggle 44 native reptiles out of Australia. The 24-year old Sydney man was apprehended by Customs and Border Protection as he made his way through Sydney International Airport. One of the more valuable specimens in the seizure was an Albino Carpet Python, worth more than $20,000.
It is estimated that only 100 of these very rare snakes still exist in the world.
Authorities found the snakes in the man's checked bags when they went through x-ray screening before his scheduled flight to Bangkok, Thailand. The reptiles were hidden in socks, small cloth bags and other articles of clothing. All of them were alive when they were seized.
The reptile menagerie included: 24 Shingleback Lizards, 16 Bluetongue Lizards and four snakes. In addition to the Albino Python, there were also three Black-headed pythons, which are extremely endangered as well. Before it left the tarmac, the man was removed from the plane and charged by Customs and Border Protection with attempting to export native species without a permit.
The reptiles are all very valuable on the black market, with a combined estimated worth of $160,000 and $200,000. None of the reptiles were harmed during their short trip and have been taken to the Sydney Wildlife World where they were examined by veterinarians and are receiving care and proper nutrition.
Wildlife smuggling is a serious offense and authorities will push maximum penalties to help curtail the practice. The man, from Bonnet Bay in Sydney, is out on bail but must appear in Downing Centre Local Court on March 24, 2009. He faces a maximum penalty of $110,000 and/or 10 years in jail is mandated under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Though this is a heartening example of increased awareness by border and customs agents regarding this issue, demand for rare species continues unabated in much of the world and authorities are left playing catch up. And because it is easy for almost anyone to smuggle many different types of (valuable) wildlife undetected, supply remains high and black market profits skyrocket.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of the online courses. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12@gmail.com

No comments: