Aquarium shop owner fined $41,000 for possession & sale of illegal wildlife

Aquarium shop owner fined $41,000 for possession & sale of illegal wildlife
These albino clawed frogs (left), ploughshare tortoise (top right) and a radiated tortoise were found in Wu Hu aquarium.

SINGAPORE - An aquarium shop owner was fined $41,000 in court Wednesday (Mar 18) for the possession and sale of illegal wildlife, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) in a statement to the press.

AVA officers had conducted a surprise inspection on Wu Hu Aquarium on April 2 last year after receiving a tip-off regarding the sale of illegal animals in the shop.

A total of 22 illegal animals were found. These included sturgeons, paddlefish, newts, clawed frogs and turtles.

The officers also uncovered two highly endangered tortoises (ploughshare tortoise and radiated tortoise) that were kept in two separate styrofoam boxes at the back of the shop.

These tortoises are critically endangered as listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), for which international commercial trade is prohibited.

Further investigations showed that all the animals in the shop had been imported into Singapore without the relevant import permits. These animals have been sent to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act (ESA), CITES permits are required for any import, export and re-export of CITES species, including that of their parts and products.

It is also an offence under the ESA if anyone is found in possession of or selling CITES species which have been illegally imported.

The penalties for infringing the Act includes a fine of at least $50,000 per scheduled species and/or a maximum of two years imprisonment.

AVA reminds the public not to import or keep wild animals as pets as demand for such animals would fuel illegal wildlife trade.

Members of the public who have information on illegal wildlife activities can contact AVA at 6805 2992 or via AVA's online feedback form.

All information shared with AVA will be kept strictly confidential.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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