• Nick Smith

The Minister of Conservation Nick Smith, said the sentencing of Frederick Angell in Nelson District Court today sent a clear message that commercial exploitation of New Zealand's native wildlife would not be tolerated. Frederick Robert Angell, 38, was today sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in the Nelson District Court on charges of conspiring to trade in and possession of endangered species.

"New Zealand's native wildlife is under threat from a suite of introduced predators and loss of habitat, and it is simply not acceptable that their plight is worsened by illegal human activities. This case makes it clear that such offending will not be tolerated. New Zealand's biodiversity is not up for sale."

Mr Smith paid tribute to the work of the Wildlife Enforcement Group, which led the investigation leading up to the arrest of Angell in July, with support from New Zealand Police. The group is funded by the New Zealand Customs Service, Department of Conservation and Ministry of Agriculture, to investigate and co-ordinate enforcement investigations related to the organised trade in wildlife.

"It must be damned frustrating for customs and conservation staff to have to deal with repeated smuggling attempts from the likes of Mr Angell. One wonders how many times a person has to be prosecuted to recognise that New Zealanders won't tolerate people hocking off their heritage. It is pleasing to note that the court has recognised both the seriousness of the offences, and that Mr Angell has been charged previously with regard to wildlife smuggling, by imposing a prison sentence."

"It is good to know that our vigilance is effective. However, the protection of our native species is a community responsibility and we should not be complacent. If any member of the public becomes aware of illegal dealing in native species, I would ask them to report their suspicions immediately to the nearest Department of Conservation office or police station."