Nearly 200 Native And Exotic Wildlife Seized From Sydney Home
Specimens taken from the Belmore residence on Thursday included 30 snakes, 43 lizards, 40 turtles, 22 tortoises, 22 frogs, 19 reptile eggs and five salamanders.
Two people have been arrested and charged as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal wildlife trafficking led by the Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE).
A 29-year-old woman and 32-year-old man allegedly made multiple attempts to smuggle native and exotic animals out of Australia between November 2018 and January 2020.
The animals were headed for Hong Kong and Taiwan, concealed in parcels among electronic speakers and toy trucks, before being intercepted at the Sydney Mail Gateway Facility by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.
NSW Police along with investigators from the DoEE Office of Compliance Environmental Crime team, executed three search warrants at the Belmore property on Thursday.
Investigators located three rooms with numerous wildlife enclosures that held around 180 animals.
The man and woman were arrested and taken to Campsie Police Station, where they were charged with 17 offences in relation to the attempted export of regulated native specimens.
The maximum penalty for these offences is imprisonment for 10 years and/or a $210,000 fine for an individual or a $1,050,000 fine for a corporation.
Both were granted strict conditional bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday, 18 February 2020.
There has been an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade in recent years, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Experts at TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, estimate that the value of the global illegal wildlife trade runs into billions of dollars.
Nearly one in three of Australia's unique mammals is at risk of extinction, according to The Nature Conservancy.
The IUCN Red List considers 86 Australian animals as Critically Endangered Species: 10 mammals, four birds, 13 fish, seven reptiles, 15 amphibians and 37 arthropods.