Reptiles poached from WA outback found in Victoria

By Georgie Meredith May 11, 2016
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Wildlife investigators have recovered 12 native reptiles suspected to have been taken from Western Australia and trafficked to Victoria.

A DOZEN MONITORS, geckos and pythons with a black market value of up to $8000 have been recovered during an ongoing operation in Victoria headed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

“We believe they have been taken from the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia and trafficked to Victoria,” said Katie Knight, DELWP’s Port Phillip Senior Compliance Officer.

The animals are unlikely to be returned to their original habitats, having possibly contracted diseases while in captivity that could pose a threat to other animals in the wild.

Large fines and potential jail time applies for trafficking wildlife. 

“The illegal taking and trafficking of wildlife threatens our native species and their habitats,” said Katie, who added that many Australian animals are commercially attractive and their illegal trade is a significant issue in Australia and internationally.

Offenders are faced with fines of up to $36,500 and possible imprisonment.

Wildlife investigators are working closely with state, commonwealth and territory agencies to gather important information regarding the trade of wildlife.

Trafficked animals are usually unable to be returned to their habitat as they may carry diseases from capitivity conditions.

“This joined-up approach also allows us to share intelligence and improves our ability to track down those involved in the illegal wildlife trade,” said Katie.

“DELWP will continue to investigate and take action against anyone who unlawfully interferes, takes, keeps or traffics in protected wildlife.”