Environment Minister Andrew Powell (right) and wildlife officer Cameron Wregg, pictured with a turtle, talk about a wildlife crime crackdown. Photo: contributed.
Environment Minister Andrew Powell (right) and wildlife officer Cameron Wregg, pictured with a turtle, talk about a wildlife crime crackdown. Photo: contributed.

Wildlife officers to scour social media for wildlife crime

QUEENSLAND wildlife officers will scour social media in their latest bid to crackdown on wildlife crime.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell said on Sunday that illegal wildlife traders were using the internet and social media to spruik the animals they had on offer.

He said he was especially concerned about hybrids and there would be a new focus on the illegal practice of cross breeding different wildlife species.

"There has been an increase in wildlife crime, in particular the trade of reptiles, such as snakes, rare birds, turtles and knob-tailed geckos over the internet and via social media channels," he said.

"Some of the wildlife is highly prized and extremely valuable in illegal circles."

"Not only was it illegal to have taken and kept the turtles, but they were in an inadequate sized fish tank that was clogged with faecal matter, skin cells and rotten meat," he said.

Mr Powell said criminals had been known to use venomous snakes to guard their drugs, and in many cases, the reptiles were found in a poor condition, and not always able to be rehabilitated.

"Social media means this activity is bigger than ever before and involves a lot more species," he said.

"Our strong plan to protect wildlife includes keeping a closer eye on websites, social media and internet advertisements for illegal trading activities.

"Illegal trade of protected wildlife can adversely impact on local wildlife populations, particularly where threatened species are involved."


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