Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Traffickers caught with Australian reptiles hidden in luggage

Two separate operations by State and Commonwealth authorities have thwarted the attempted trafficking of hundreds of Western Australian native animals.

Four men have been arrested and charged with animal trafficking in a joint investigation by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and the Western Australia (WA) Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Two men from Russia and two from the Czech Republic were arrested by ACBPS officers at Perth International Airport after the discovery of more than 150 reptiles and amphibians allegedly hidden in hollowed out books and cigarette packets contained in packages posted from Australian addresses to European destinations.

Two of the men also allegedly had reptiles hidden in their luggage at the airport.

Parks and Wildlife officers identified 157 skinks, geckos, frogs, pygmy pythons, a dead death adder, a number of invertebrates and 33 dead reptiles which appear to have been tagged for use as specimens.

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