wildlife australia
A Tasmanian Devil named Irene has her paws sprayed with disinfectant by operations manager Mike Drinkwater as she is prepared as part of a shipment of healthy and genetically diverse devils to the island state of Tasmania, from the Devil Ark sanctuary in Barrington Tops on Australia's mainland, November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Reed Reuters/Jason Reed

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE) arrested a Bondi Beach man on Friday due to illegal international wildlife trafficking. The man has allegedly seized six packages containing more than 40 native Australian shingleback lizards to be sent in Sweden.

The 28-year-old man was also allegedly responsible for 16 packages from Thailand containing more than 200 animals. The animals that were allegedly smuggled were Chinese soft shell turtles, freshwater stingrays, veiled chameleons, alligator snapping turtles, snakehead fish and sugar gliders.

The Bondi Beach man faced a total of 41 offences where 25 counts were contrary to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). The other 16 offences were contrary to the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth). The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

“The AFP is committed to working with the Department of Environment and Energy and our other partners including Australian Border Force and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to investigate matters such as this, and reduce the impact that wildlife-related crime can have on Australian and global biodiversity,” AFP manager crime operations Chris McDevitt said in a statement. Devitt said that it has been a complex investigation. He described that the scale of criminality involved in the matter has been astounding.

“Native Australian reptiles such as lizards and snakes are very highly sought after overseas and can be sold very profitably by offenders who have little regard for their welfare. International illegal wildlife trade is worth billions with poachers making huge profits from selling wildlife and wildlife products," Department of Environment and Energy First Assistant Secretary Matt Cahill said. He said that the Australian Government is working internationally to combat illegal wildlife trade.

Detailed offences

The man allegedly violated Section 303DD(1) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) by attempting to export a regulated native specimen -- seven counts. He allegedly violated Section 303EK(1) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) by importing a regulated live specimen -- 13 counts. Section 303CD(1) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) was allegedly violated when he imported Appendix II CITES specimen and Section 303GN of the Environment Protection and biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) for possessing a non-native CITES regulated specimen -- one count each. Section 186(5) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth) was also allegedly violated for contravening conditions applying to conditionally non-prohibited goods brought or imported into Australian territory -- 16 counts.