11 September, 2012
Harsher penalties for wildlife smugglers
Cabinet has agreed to tough new measures for people caught attempting to smuggle native wildlife out of the country, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says.
The Wildlife (Smuggling Deterrence) Amendment Bill will increase the maximum penalty for smuggling of native animals such as tuatara, parrots, and geckos from 6 months imprisonment or a $100,000 fine to up to five years imprisonment and/or a $300,000 fine.
“This is an important message to send to potential smugglers - especially as we celebrate this year’s Conservation Week - that taking our precious wildlife will not be tolerated,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“Increasing the fines and prison terms will show them they will pay a hefty price for these despicable acts.”
DOC has successfully brought four prosecutions involving seven foreign nationals and 68 lizards since 2010.
It will also allow certain DOC rangers some limited powers of arrest to ensure smugglers cannot abscond before police arrive.
The Bill will be introduced to the House later this year.