Over 30 wild animals seized from flat


Over 30 wild animals seized from flat

Tip-off led to biggest seizure of illegal wildlife from home in 11 years: AVA

THREE rare ball pythons, two Indian star tortoises and a slow loris were among more than 30 wild or endangered animals rescued from a flat here in the biggest seizure of illegal wildlife from a home in 11 years.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said its officers acted on a tip-off to raid the flat and that a man who lives there is assisting with investigations.

The animals, all of which were alive, were sent to Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

They included black-tailed prairie dogs, sailfin dragons and ornate horned frogs.

The AVA declined to say where the animals were seized in the June 3 raid.

It said there were 19 cases of individuals being caught in possession of illegal wildlife last year, the highest number since 2008. However, in the past five years, only two cases ended with offenders going to court, where they were fined.

Ms Corinne Fong, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was “surprised” by the size of the seizure and urged international authorities to “step up checks to stop this trade”.

She added: “Some animals will probably end up in countries such as China where exotic wildlife is highly valued as pets or to be eaten.”

Animal rights groups interviewed said Singapore is used by exotic wildlife traders as a “transit point” for their goods because of its open trade policy.

The creatures may come from countries in the region such as Thailand and Vietnam, and are sent here while customers overseas are being sourced for.

Animal rights groups say the reason for the recent rise in cases may be that the authorities are receiving more tip-offs.

Such groups have been urged by the AVA to share information on suspected cases.

The current case is the biggest haul since 2002 when a man was fined $25,000 and jailed for three months for owning 47 illegal wild animals as pets.

A permit is required for the import and export of animals in Singapore. The Republic is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

It is an offence to possess or to trade in any illegally imported or acquired Cites species.

If found guilty, offenders can be fined up to $50,000 per specimen or up to $500,000 in total, and/or jailed up to two years.

 (c) 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
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