A Chinese man has been charged after Border Force officials caught him attempting to illegally smuggle more than 20 native Australian lizards out of the country.
The man had wrapped the lizards in socks and hidden them in mail bound for Hong Kong.
Border Force officials were tipped off to the man by Australia Post who found 10 bobtail lizards and one blue tongue lizard during x-ray screening of outbound mail last Tuesday. It sparked an investigation which ended when the man tried to board a flight from Perth to Hong Kong. His baggage was searched and allegedly contained the same type of socks that the lizards had been wrapped in during the smuggling attempt.
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Further investigations led to officials finding a second parcel, also bound for Hong Kong – it contained an additional 11 bobtail lizards and one Western Blue Tongue Lizard.
The Chinese national has been charged with attempting to export a regulated native specimen, and subjecting the lizards to cruel treatment. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $180,000.
If you have any information about illegal removal of Australian wildlife, or notice any suspicious activity, call the Wildcare Helpline on 08 9474 9055 or the ABF’s Border Watch on 1800 009 623.