A Czech national, charged for attempting to illegally import 16 endangered bird eggs, has been sentenced to 72 days’ imprisonment.
The 39-year-old man appeared before the Sydney Central Local Court on Thursday (30 July 2014) and pleaded guilty to the offence of importing a regulated live specimen.
On 20 May 2014, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) officers at Sydney Airport stopped the man for further examination when he arrived on a flight from Dubai. During the examination, ACBPS officers conducted a frisk search of the man and found 16 small eggs concealed in his undergarments.
The eggs were later identified to be of a Monk parakeet or Quaker parakeet, which has been listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) since 1976.
Australia is a signatory to CITES and implements the Convention under its national environment law, the Environment Biodiversity and Conversation Act 1999. The Australian Government is committed to protecting and conserving endangered plants and wildlife. It is illegal to import CITES-listed species without a permit under Australian law.
The operation was made possible by close cooperation between ACBPS and the Department of the Environment, with support from the Australian Museum. This seizure and subsequent conviction is a significant blow to illegal wildlife smuggling.
Australia has some of the strongest wildlife protection laws in the world. Australian law enforcement agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, takes attempts to illegally smuggle wildlife into and out of Australia very seriously.
The maximum penalty for wildlife trade offences under the Act is 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $170,000 for individuals or up to $850,000 for corporations. Information about trade in illegal wildlife or wildlife products can be provided to the Department of the Environment on 02 6274 1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org