The Federal Government is fighting for greater protection of 127 Australian
native reptile species from international smugglers.

Sussan Ley, Minister for the Environment, has listed 127 native reptile
species for inclusion on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) list in an attempt to stem “cruel and
abhorrent” smuggling.

“Sadly, our reptiles have become a major international target, and while I
stress very clearly that it is already a crime under Australian Law to export
these animals without specialised permits, this listing will secure additional
international support for their protection.”

Species listed include the shingleback, pygmy blue tongue lizard, water
dragon, and spiny tailed gecko, with Australia’s submission set to become
included in the convention’s official list in mid-2022.

“Government agencies continue to track down networks of serious wildlife crime
activity and to hand out severe punishment to perpetrators.

“Over the last two years my department’s Environmental Crime Unit has
successfully seen the conviction of 11 people on wildlife trafficking charges
with a total of almost 27 years imprisonment,” said Ley.

Currently the maximum penalty for wildlife trade offences under Australia’s
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is 10 years
imprisonment and $222,000 for individuals.

The listing represents one of the largest from any State Party in CITES nearly
50-year history.

Tagged: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora, reptile smuggling

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