Friday, 30 January 2015

Postal strike ends boxed lizards’ lives - Herp Digest

Durban-January 24 2015 - By Arthi Sanpath The Independent on Saturday

Stuffed into a tiny box crammed with sweets and toys, six spiny rock and green crocodile lizards were smuggled from Mexico to South Africa.
But this became their final resting place as five died, lying in the box for nearly four months when the postal service went on strike.
Only one survived the journey in the box, which had no ventilation, and the wait in the rooms of the mail centre, but was put down after its rescue by the National Council of SPCAs.
“It was incredibly sad,” said its Wildlife Protection Unit’s Arno de Klerk.
The illegal trade in wild animals was prevalent across the whole country, he said.
NSPCA inspectors had been called to the Expedited Mail Services international mail centre at OR Tambo International Airport, in Joburg, by a customs official after a rotten smell was noted coming from a package lying among piles of undelivered mail.
“On inspection, five dead and decomposing rock and green crocodile lizards were found, as well as a dehydrated lizard hanging on to life. The lizard was humanely euthanased to prevent further suffering,” said De Klerk.
The lizards had been posted to an address in Joburg from Mexico and the live animals were packed among sweets and toys. De Klerk said no provision had been made for the welfare of the animals.
“It is believed that, as a result of the strike, the box had been lying at the mail centre for four months before discovery.”
The recipient was tracked down by the NSPCA and SAPS and faces cruelty charges.
“We are shocked that so little regard was paid to these suffering animals that were treated as commodities.
“NSPCA inspectors remain vigilant to the on-going illegal trade in wild animals and we will take a hard line against perpetrators of cruelty, wherever this is encountered. This cruelty has to stop.”
He said it was not illegal to import them. “You are allowed to import animals if you have all the proper paperwork in place and do so in the proper manner.
This incident is considered illegal smuggling because animals are not allowed to be transported via the postal service, and there was no paperwork attached or submitted.
There was no provision made for them.”

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