Australian Man Arrested Following Gruesome Animal Parts Discovered In Package Addressed To The United States

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A 34-year-old Darwin man has been arrested and charged by the Australian Border Force (ABF) after a seemingly innocuous international package addressed to the U.S. was found to hold a large quantity of animal parts allegedly destined for international markets.

The article, identified by Northern Territory (NT) Parks, Wildlife and Heritage officers on July 31st, was found to contain a skull from a Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and a King Colobus Monkey.

A further seizure by NT Parks, Wildlife and Heritage through the postal system revealed a Straw Necked Ibis and an Olive-backed Baboon skull.

Following further investigation, officers from the ABF, NT Parks, Wildlife and Heritage and Northern Territory Police executed a warrant at a property at Driver on Tuesday, October 23rd, where they located the animal parts.

Officers located skulls, skeletons and other parts allegedly belonging to both Australian and non-native animals including: ocelots, kangaroos, chipmunks, crocodiles, wombats, hornbills, bearded dragons, reptiles, dogs, fish, wedge tail eagles and a number of domestic species including goats, ducks, and chickens.

It is alleged a number of these specimens are endangered listed under the international Convention in Trade of Endangered Species or Protected Native Specimens.

ABF officers subsequently arrested the male who was taken to Darwin Watch House where he was bailed to appear in Darwin Magistrates Court on December 4th.

ABF Senior Investigator, Nathan Grant, said the result demonstrates the effectiveness of a joint agency approach to protecting endangered species and Australian wildlife by stamping out the trade in illegal wildlife, whether live or in taxidermy form.

“Protecting Australia’s natural resources, including our native animals, from exploitation is an operational priority for the ABF, and we play a key role in locating and taking action against the unscrupulous operators in this illegal trade,” Senior Investigator Grant said in a statement.

“Like any unique commodity, Australian wildlife can fetch a high price overseas and is an attractive market for individuals and organized crime syndicates.”

Some of these species are listed on the Near Threatened and Endangered Species list, while NT Parks, Wildlife and Heritage continue the process of identifying the animal species and parts.

Department of Tourism and Culture, Acting Director of Wildlife Operations, Parks, Wildlife and Heritage Division, Tracey Duldig, said the arrest was the product of months of close collaboration with the ABF.

 “The taking and possession of illegal wildlife continues to be a threat to native animals. Wildlife is one of the three highest illegally traded commodities in the world and this joint investigation is an example of a coordinated approach to effectively tackle wildlife crime,” stated Duldig.

Northern Territory Police Senior Sergeant Drew Slape said NT Police will continue to work in partnership with its law enforcement partners to detect, intercept, and prosecute any persons engaged in the illegal hunting, trading or possession of our vulnerable protected wildlife.

The man was charged under s303CC of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conversation Act 1999 and s66(2) and s67B of the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act. There may be further charges pending the identification of species.

The maximum penalty for illegally taking or possessing protected wildlife under the NT legislation is $77,500 or five years imprisonment. For threatened wildlife, the maximum penalty is $155,000 or 10 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for the Commonwealth offence is up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $210,000.

No further details are available as the investigation remains ongoing.

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