Animal poaching: Two men convicted after trying to smuggle native WA lizards to America

Two men have been convicted after trying to smuggle live lizards from northern WA to America.

The men, aged 31 and 39, pleaded guilty to traveling to Broome in 2018 where they captured Western Pilbara spiny-tailed skinks with the intention of selling them in the United States.

The species was discovered in 2011.

A joint investigation between the Australian Border Force and US wildlife officers found the men captured more than a dozen lizards and attempted to ship them in two separate packages to Miami in Florida and Medford in Oregon .

Camera iconThe lizards were hidden in containers.. Credit: Australian Border Force/provided

They hid the lizards in plastic containers with several air holes.

ABF seized one of the packages in April 2018 from a WA postal facility and found 15 lizards concealed in several plastic containers with holes for airflow.

The men were sentenced in February 2022.

The 39-year-old was sentenced to three years on probation, 300 days house arrest and will have to pay a $40,000 fine.

The 31-year-old was sentenced to three years probation, six months house arrest and 250 hours of community service.

Western Pilbara spiny-tailed skinks.
Camera iconWestern Pilbara spiny-tailed skinks. Credit: Australian Border Force/provided

Acting Commander of ABF Western Operations Shaun Senior said the convictions highlight the ABF’s close collaboration with national and international partners to identify those involved in the cruel trade in contraband contraband. wild species.

“Wildlife smuggling is a global problem and one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities,” he said.

“Sending animals in packages is illegal, cruel and inhumane, many animals smuggled in this way do not survive.”

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