The Australian Border Force (ABF) is asking the community to be alert to attempts to smuggle native wildlife out of Australia, after officers in Perth saved fifteen native Australian lizards concealed in parcels bound for Slovakia.
Earlier this month (6 October), ABF officers at the Perth International Mail Gateway selected three parcels for further examination after noticing inconsistencies in x-ray images.
They opened the parcels and found books, inside which 10 spiny tailed geckos, three bearded dragons and two thorny devils were concealed.
ABF Regional Commander WA Rod O’Donnell said the black market trade in Australian wildlife was lucrative for those involved.
“Native Australian lizards such as these are highly sought after overseas and can be sold for a tidy profit by people who have little regard for their welfare,” Commander O’Donnell said.
“The ABF has an important role to play in protecting our wildlife from falling prey to unscrupulous collectors.
“We urge anyone in the community who might have information about attempts to smuggle wildlife out of the country to contact our community hotline, Border Watch, on 1800 009 623.”
It is illegal under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to export native wildlife without a permit.
The maximum penalty for wildlife trade offences is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $180,000 for individuals and up to $900,000 for corporations.