No dragon the chain on wildlife

A WODONGA pet store has been fined more than $1000 for not meeting rules governing the sale of native animals.

Scales Aquarium and Reptile, in South Street, was forced to cough up for failing to keep up-to-date logbooks of native wildlife sales.

It comes as the Department of Environment and Primary Industries cracks down on those with wildlife licences, especially those who have made illegal sales.

The department’s senior compliance officer, Leigh Murray, stressed that while Scales’ breach was only an administrative one, the paperwork was an important tool in monitoring commercial native animal populations.

Under the Wildlife Act 1975, licensed traders must record all new stock or sale on the day.

“All traders are issued with a record book and it needs to be kept neat and tidy and produced on demand,” he said.

“It’s the cornerstone of wildlife licensing, really.

“We can audit that book to make sure the animals they’re trading come from reputable sources.”

The Border Mail could not contact anyone from Scales yesterday for comment.

Mr Murray said department officers would get around to all those in the Hume region with wildlife licences, whether they be commercial or private licensees.

There are about 700 basic and 150 advanced wildlife licence-holders across the region.

Mr Murray said most traders and breeders did the right thing, but there were some areas of concern, such as within the Mansfield shire where licence renewals had declined to 12 in recent years.

“It is vital for store owners to not only be doing the right thing, but to also assist in educating private wildlife owners about their responsibilities,” Mr Murray said.

“All wildlife is protected and can’t be taken from its natural habitat, so these rules are there to make sure the animals are from legitimate sources.”

Traders and breeders must have annual licences for animals including every type of snake, almost all lizards, and a substantial number of birds.

Licences are not needed for sulphur-crested cockatoos or galahs.

Anyone illegally possessing, breeding, trading or displaying native wildlife without a licence is liable for fines of up to $28,000 and-or two years’ imprisonment.

Those who have knowledge of others keeping or trading wildlife illegally should report it to the department’s customer service centre on 136 186. You may remain anonymous.

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