Australia More than 180 animals seized in western Sydney smuggling bust

06:10  25 january  2020
06:10  25 january  2020 Source:   smh.com.au

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a turtle swimming under water: Reptiles, including turtles, were seized from a Belmore property as part of a wildlife smuggling investigation.© NSW Police Reptiles, including turtles, were seized from a Belmore property as part of a wildlife smuggling investigation.

More than 180 native and exotic animals have been seized from a western Sydney property and two people have been charged for attempting to smuggle wildlife out of Australia.

Suspicions were raised when Australian Border Force officials seized mail parcels concealing a range of exotic species, mostly reptiles. The animals were packed in with electronics and were bound for Hong Kong and Taiwan.

After a Department of Environment-led investigation, police executed a search warrant on a Belmore property on Thursday. They discovered 30 snakes, 43 lizards, 40 turtles, 22 tortoises, 22 frogs, five salamanders and 19 reptile eggs.

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As per the reports, customs officials in a statement stated that while inspecting they seized 14 tons of Pangolin scales. Approximately, 14 tons of pangolin scales were packed in 230 bags, it also contained 180 kgs of elephant ivory. They further stated that the pangolin scale is the most trafficked

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a close up of a cage: Snakes were also seized and two people were charged with trafficking offences.© NSW Police Snakes were also seized and two people were charged with trafficking offences.

A 29-year-old woman and a 32-year-old-man were arrested and taken to Campsie police station, where they were charged with 17 offences relating to illegal wildlife trafficking.

Police allege the pair made several trafficking attempts between November 2018 and January 2020 and intended to smuggle 45 reptiles out of the country.

The maximum penalty for the offences is imprisonment for 10 years and/or a $210,000 fine.

Both were granted strict conditional bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday 18 February 2020.

According to the Department of Environment and Energy, Australian reptiles are highly sought after overseas and wildlife crime is now recognised as a specialised area of global organised crime.

The arrests follow the jailing of former NRL player Martin Kennedy for reptile smuggling and other trafficking offences.

Kennedy was originally given a good-behaviour bond, but an appeal court ruled late last year that the penalty was inadequate, sentencing him to four years in prison instead.

How an RSPCA branch sent euthanised horses to a ZOO to be eaten by lions and tigers - as the racing industry is attacked for destroying thoroughbreds .
The ultimate fate of broken-down racehorses and other stock taken in by the RSPCA nationwide depends on the state where the animal is seized. RSPCA state branches operate independently and set their own policies for the destruction of animals including horses which cannot be expected to survive.

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