Australian Police Seize 30 Protected Species And Charged Two Queensland Men In The Illegal Trade Of Native Animals

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Photo Credits: Mount Isla Police Department

Mount Isa police, in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, have charged two southeast Queensland men following the discovery of more than 30 animals and reptiles in their vehicle.

The animals are listed as protected under the Nature Conservation Act with an estimated street value of more than $160,000.

A black headed python and blue-tongue lizard, as well as rare frogs, snakes, geckos and skinks, were among the animals seized and subsequently released into the care of officials from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Sadly, two rare frogs perished due to the poor conditions they were subjected to.

In an article in the Brisbane Times, Environment Minister Steven Miles explained that some of the seized animals, including a knob tail gecko, were able to be returned to the wild almost immediately.

“We hope that many of these reptiles are also ultimately released to the wild, but this may not be possible in some cases if there is a risk of the animals spreading diseases into wild reptile populations, or where the original source of the animals in unknown,” continued Miles who confirmed that the illegal take and trade of native Australian animals was a “significant issue” across the country.

It is believed that the animals were taken in remote areas of the Queensland and Northern Territory wilderness.

The alleged perpetrators who are charged with nine counts of restriction on keeping or using a taken protected animal are scheduled to appear in Mount Isa Magistrates Court on August 7, 2017.

They face penalties of up to $378,450 or two years imprisonment.

Detective Acting Sergeant Jarrod Horne noted in an official statement issued by the department that the detection of these violations and subsequent seizure of the protected animals would have a significant impact on deterring future offenses.

Anyone who has knowledge or information regarding this investigation or other incidents involving the theft of native fauna in Australia are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers in Australia HERE: 1.800.333.000

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