Friday, May 02, 2014

Man who tried to sell wallaby joey on Facebook faces criminal charges

A wallaby joey has been rescued by wildlife officers after it was advertised for sale on Facebook by a man in Broome, in Western Australia's north. The animal was seized last week after a wildlife officer posing as a potential buyer responded to the man's advertisement.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife said the 26-year-old Northern Territory man brought the wallaby into WA from the NT. The Facebook post had offered to sell the animal for $3,500, although there were reportedly bids of up to $10,000 from overseas buyers.

The man could be charged with up to five offences under the Wildlife Conservation Act. Wildlife officer Peter Carstairs said the man was likely to face hefty financial penalties. "There will be offences including possession, importation and selling of protected fauna," he said. "Some of these offences carry heavy penalties, up to $4,000 for each penalty, so it could be quite a good court case."

Mr Carstairs said local residents concerned about the man's actions had made complaints to the department, which led to the wallaby's seizure. "The community outrage generated by this incident shows that people really care about protecting our native wildlife," he said. "It is illegal to sell or possess any part of a native animal in Western Australia unless you have a wildlife licence. There is a black market trade in Australian wildlife and it is a practice that must be stopped."

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