WA man fined for native reptiles, frogs

28 Sep, 2012 11:17 AM
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A 39-year-old Pilbara man has been fined for illegally possessing almost 100 native reptiles and amphibians, including highly venomous desert death adders.

Adrian Scott Elsum, of South Hedland in Western Australia, has been fined $4500 and ordered to pay more than $3700 in court costs after being found guilty of seven charges under the Wildlife Conservation Act.

Wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) seized 11 desert death adders, 52 Stimson's pythons, seven woma pythons and 20 northern green tree frogs during a search of his residence in February last year.

DEC wildlife officer Matt Swan said the animals were estimated to have a market value of about $50,000.

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"All of the animals seized are protected fauna in WA and woma pythons are specially protected," Mr Swan said on Friday.

"The penalty handed down to Mr Elsum this week serves as a warning to anyone who might be tempted to take protected fauna unlawfully or who have reptiles in their possession illegally."

The desert death adders were returned to their natural habitat, but the remaining animals could not be released because of the risk of introducing disease to wild populations, he said.

The maximum penalty for possessing protected fauna is $4000, and up to $10,000 for specially protected fauna.

WAtoday

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