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Help break the illegal wildlife trafficking chain in Central Victoria

Central Victorians are being asked to keep an eye out for poaching activity while out in our forests and parks this spring.

Thursday, 4 November 2021 at 11:40 pm

Conservation Regulator Program Manager, Georgia de Salis said as the weather warms up, we receive an increase in reports of people taking native animals, such as lizards and snakes. Animals are taken from the wild to keep as pets or be trafficked in and out of Australia.

“Shingleback lizards (Tiliqua rugosa), Blue-tongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides) and other native reptile species play an important role in maintaining the region’s biodiversity and food chains. Removing these animals from their natural habitat can have devastating impacts on our natural ecosystems,” Ms de Salis said.

"We are reminding the community it is illegal to remove reptiles from the wild or damage any wildlife habitat.

“Throughout Central Victoria, reptiles use rocky outcrops, soil, stones and mosses for shelter. By lifting and moving rocks or disturbing the natural environment, you can damage and destroy these habitats, some of which have taken thousands of years to form.

“Disrupting habitat and taking reptiles from the wild depletes local populations and subjects those animals to cruel and inhumane treatment.

“If you want to keep a reptile as a pet, you must get the necessary licences, and ensure you are purchasing from a legal source, especially when the animals are advertised online. To be legitimate, dealers must clearly display their licences in their premises, they must include their licence number on online advertisements and the animals they are selling must be captive-bred.

“We also encourage members of the community to come forward with information about unlawful reptile trading or report suspicious or illegal activity. Together we can stop illegal wildlife trafficking in our region.”

Victoria's wildlife is protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. The maximum penalty for illegally hunting, taking or destroying protected wildlife is $9,087 and/or six months imprisonment. An additional fine of more than $908 per head of wildlife may also apply.

The Conservation Regulator recently launched the Break the Chain campaign with Crime Stoppers Victoria and Agriculture Victoria, to stop native and exotic animals being trafficked in and out of Australia. 

To apply for a wildlife licence or to find out more about legal keeping of wildlife, visit Wildlife Licences and Permits

Anyone with information on illegal taking or keeping of wildlife should contact DELWP on 136 186 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or online at Crimestoppers.

Conservation Regulator Victoria