Vic moves to break illegal wildlife chain

·2-min read

Victorians are being urged to support a campaign to stop native and exotic animals being trafficked in and out of Australia, with some species fetching up to six figures on the black market.

Native species like the shingleback skink are in demand overseas with an asking price of $10,000, while birds like the red-tailed black cockatoo can sell for up to $100,000.

Crime Stoppers Victoria chief executive Stella Smith on Friday said the illegal wildlife trade in Australia can be as profitable for criminals as drug or firearm trafficking.

And there has been a 59 per cent increase in wildlife-crime related tips to Crime Stoppers Victoria in the past year.

People have attempted to illegally export reptiles through the post by concealing them in socks and tape.

But illegally imported animals and their products can also pose a significant biosecurity risk, Victoria's Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said.

Exotic animals can bring in new animal and human diseases, such as foot and mouth or rabies, which can devastate primary production and the environment.

Exotic pest animals such as the red-eared slider turtle and pygmy hedgehog are not pets, Ms D'Ambrosio said.

And the minister said preventing their entry into Victoria is the most effective way to protect the state's biosecurity.

With this in mind, Ms D'Ambrosio announced a new partnership between the Conservation Regulator, Agriculture Victoria and Crime Stoppers Victoria to break the illegal wildlife chain.

She urged the public to come forward with information on wildlife crime and to remain on high alert for illegal animal trafficking online, or among people they know.

"Taking native animals from the bush and trafficking them overseas isn't just illegal, it's cruel. And many animals don't survive," Ms D'Ambrosio said.

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