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    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Green pythons uncovered in Cape York Peninsula wildlife operation

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Wednesday, February 24, 2016

    Green pythons uncovered in Cape York Peninsula wildlife operation

    Wildlife officers have recovered two green pythons which were poached from Cape York Peninsula.

    Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said the animals were two of a number of reptiles which have recently been recovered during an ongoing operation being run jointly by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and Queensland Police.

    It’s estimated the two green pythons would each fetch up to $3000 on the black market.

    “The snakes were recovered by wildlife officers and transferred to a departmental facility where they are being cared for,” Dr Miles said.

    “EHP is currently looking into options for their long-term care, including the possibility of a display to highlight the impacts of poaching on our native wildlife.

    “Unfortunately it is unlikely that they will be able to return to the wild because of the very real possibility that reptiles which have been held in captivity could introduce diseases which are unknown in their home range.”

    Dr Miles said the illegal taking of protected wildlife had a number of impacts on the local environment.

    “If people keep taking protected wildlife from specific areas, it can result in localised extinctions and problems with in-breeding within wild populations,” he said.

    “If you’re thinking of keeping native wildlife it’s very important to be sure that you deal with a licensed provider and that you have all the necessary permits.

    “In Queensland, native animals are protected under the Nature Conservation Act.

    “Taking, keeping or selling them without a permit is against the law. Penalties of up to $353,400 or 2 years imprisonment for an individual can apply.”

    Dr Miles said many native Australian animals were commercially attractive and the illegal take and trade of them was a significant issue across Australia and internationally.

    “Wildlife officers from Queensland and other States and Territories are working together to collect, monitor and analyse wildlife data and intelligence information to track down potential illegal wildlife activities,” he said.

    “EHP will continue to take strong action against people who unlawfully interfere, take, transact or keep protected wildlife.”

    Dr Miles said the assistance from Queensland Police, and particularly the Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad, had been invaluable.

    In 2015 EHP successfully prosecuted 13 cases relating to offences under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and subordinate legislation.

    Of the 13 prosecutions, 9 related to wildlife offences – with court imposed penalties ranging from $600 to $9,500, and 2 involved plant related offences – with penalties imposed of $8,000 and $15,000.

    Members of the public are encouraged to report incidents of wildlife related crime or incidences where they believe wildlife related crime has occurred.

    Reports can be made to EHP by ringing 1300 130 372 or alternatively through Crime Stoppers.

    ENDS

    Media contact: 0412 393 909