The exotic pet trade is a lucrative one, and every year wildlife smugglers are exposed by customs officers trying to sneak reptiles, birds and small mammals out of this country.
Among the most popular species overseas are:
|An obese pet Sugar Glider - over-fed by his owners.|
|A man and his full-grown pet wallaroo in the US.|
|Two young wallaroos kept in nappies!|
|A Bearded Dragon suffering from MBD - Metabolic Bone Disease, caused by poor |
diet/animal husbandry - an agonising condition for the animal.
And our bird life isn't immune either, with the species almost too numerous to mention but include many of our colourful and sizeable parrots. Judging by this Dept of Environment and Conservation press release, many of our smaller birds are also popular in foreign pet shops...
|An Orange Chat in the wild.|
John Alan Middleton pleaded guilty to attempting to export 11 orange chats, five crimson chats, four white-fronted chats and three splendid fairy wrens in November 2008.
The birds were part of two consignments tracked by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) as part of an operation involving wildlife authorities in three States.
DEC prosecutions coordinator Gail Ritchie said that due to the cramped conditions in which they were held, 12 of the birds were dead upon arrival in Sydney.
"Wildlife smugglers have little or no regard for animal welfare, which is why native WA birds can only be legally exported interstate with a valid export licence issued by DEC," she said.
"Some orange chats can fetch up to $500 each on the black market and splendid fairy wrens can be worth up to $250 each but the message is clear - if you try to smuggle birds out of WA, you will be investigated and prosecuted."
The maximum penalty for each offence of illegally exporting and possessing wildlife under WA's Wildlife Conservation Act is $4000.
|Smuggled birds discovered stuffed into a small box. They'll most likely die from |
dehydration or suffocation, or if they're discovered at the other end of their trip, they'll be
destroyed by Customs officials. They miss their wild life.
|If these birds survive the trip - and it looks as if these ones didn't - they're |
destined for life in a cage. Can you imagine what hell that is for a wild bird?