TWO Goulburn Valley men have been convicted and fined over the possession of protected and threatened wildlife.
They were apprehended by Department of Environment and Primary Industries officers with two threatened Major Mitchell cockatoos, three eastern water dragons and a spotted python.
The department has issued a warning about people possessing protected wildlife without the appropriate permits.
Officers have recently apprehended others in the North East for similar offences and say such matters have a high priority.
The two cases were heard in Shepparton Magistrates Court last week.
A Mooroopna man was charged under the Wildlife Act 1975 and was fined $2000 for having the cockatoos and water dragons. The fine was imposed in his absence.
The two protected species were located during the execution of a search warrant at a house in Mooroopna last August.
DEPI’s senior compliance officer, Gary Dash, said: “The man had not renewed his wildlife licence since 2008.
“It is a timely reminder that all wildlife licences need to be renewed in September each year.”
“The maximum penalty for illegally possessing protected wildlife is $7218 and/or six months imprisonment.”
Mr Dash said the maximum penalty for possessing threatened species of wildlife is $34,646 and/or 24 months jail.
Meanwhile, in the second case, a Numurkah man has been ordered to pay $800 and forfeit his pet spotted python.