Four western netted dragons held by Wildlife officer Chris Phillips that were found in the parcels seized in the post in Western Australia. Photo: Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.A horde of deadly snakes were among almost 100 native reptiles found in the post in Western Australia after smugglers unsuccessfully tried to send them interstate for sale on the black market.
The six parcels contained highly venomous snakes including a death adder snake, king brown, whip snake and Stimson’s pythons.
Barking geckos and bobtail lizards were also seized after they were found trapped in plastic containers during the native reptile smuggling bust.
They were destined for the New South Wales when wildlife officers in Kalgoorlie intercepted them last week.
It is understood five of the reptiles were either dead by the time the parcels were intercepted, or had died in transit.
The packages were intercepted last Friday morning by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Officers recovered about 21 different reptile species from the failed smuggling operation which could have collected more than $150,000 on the black market.
Wildlife officer Matt Swan said western netted dragons were also among the 94 species confiscated.
“The reptiles have come from locations across WA, including the Wheatbelt, Goldfields, Midwest and Pilbara,” he said.
“Posting animals in packages is not only illegal but cruel and inhumane.”
He said the reptiles were subject to extreme temperatures which had the potential to kill them.
People caught smuggling protected fauna in Western Australia previously faced a fine of $4,000 per species.
But under new laws rolled out this year, the parcels could cost the sender up to $20,000 per species.
The department said it hoped the new penalties would deter wildlife crimes and protect native animals.
People with information about the illegal removal of reptiles or who notice any suspicious activity should call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.
-with WA Today