Two men attempt to smuggle rare reptiles

Two rare species of frog died during the smuggle attempt.
By AG Staff July 17, 2017 Reading Time: 2 Minutes

LAST THURSDAY, officers pulled over two men in Mt Isa who were attempting to smuggle more than 30 protected wild animals, valued at more than $160, 000, out of outback Queensland.

The two men, aged 19 and 27, were pulled over after police officers became suspicious of their behaviour.

“The police conducted an inquiry with these two males on the side of the road and something didn’t sit right with them,” Jarrod Horne, the Detective Acting Sergeant for the Queensland Police Service told ABC news.

“Upon making further inquiries they realised there was something further happening here and as a result the vehicle was searched and those animals were located,” he added.

Among the animals captured were snakes, lizards, geckos, skinks, as well as two rare frogs which unfortunately died while being transported due to the enclosures extremely poor conditions. 

illegal reptile trade Queensland

A black-headed python, also taken by the two men. (Image Credit: Queensland Police Service)

The remaining animals have been given to the Department of Environment and heritage Protection.

Those involved in the crime were charged with nine counts of stealing protected wildlife, with more charges set to come. 

illegal reptile trade Queensland

A gecko taken by the two men. (Image Credit: Queensland Police Service)

Over the past year scientists and conservationists have been ramping up their attempts to curtail the illegal wildlife trade. 

Last week, researchers from the Australian Museum announced that they had developed a new kind of DNA testing.

They hope that the new procedure will assist scientists and animal experts to prevent wild snakes being poached by licensed snake owners to replace legally bred domestic reptiles.

Earlier this year, parts of the scientific community encouraged their colleagues to withhold the location of rare species as poachers had begun trawling through scientific papers to locate rare animals.