A four-metre Burmese python, venomous Gila monsters, iguanas, corn snakes and an African spurred tortoise, all illegally kept in Sydney suburbs, are part of a haul of exotic animals found by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) biosecurity officers this winter (2020).
NSW DPI pest animal specialist, Nathan Cutter, said a recent NSW DPI biosecurity social media campaign helped raise community awareness and prompted people to reveal where exotic animals were being kept illegally.
“Many of these exotic animals have been trapped in the wild and trafficked around the world through illegal wildlife trade,” Mr Cutter said.
“These wild animals are often kept in garages and backyards from which they may escape, or they are dumped by their owners when animals are unwell or difficult to manage.
“Illegally kept exotic wildlife can have a serious negative impact on our environment, biodiversity and communities – endangering people, competing with native animals for food, water and habitat, with the potential to introduce new diseases which threaten native and domestic animals.
“The illegal trade in wildlife can be equally devastating to animals and their native environments. When animals are poached from the wild, it threatens the species’ survival in its natural habitat.”
NSW DPI Senior Compliance Investigations Officer, Lachlan Porteous, said the social media campaign has helped protect our community and environment.
“Illegally keeping and dealing in high-risk, exotic animals threatens our community, native species and environment,” Mr Porteous said.
“We encourage the public to keep in touch and let us know if they see any unusual looking animals in places where they shouldn’t be.”
Anyone with information about illegally kept and unusual animals, which are not native to Australia can call NSW DPI, 1800 680 244 or use the unusual animals form, https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/report-a-biosecurity-concern
Source: NSW DPI