A 36-year-old Japanese man has faced a Perth court after he allegedly attempted to smuggle nine shingleback skinks, also known as bobtail lizards, out of Australia.
The man was stopped by Customs and Border Protection officers at Perth International Airport on Monday after x-rays indicated there were lizards in his baggage.
The officers found the skinks in two plastic containers in very cramped conditions.
The court was told the lizards were collected from City Beach in the city’s western suburbs last weekend with the intention of exporting them to sell in Japan, where they can fetch as much as $6000 each.
Department of Environment and Conservation senior wildlife investigator Rick Dawson said the native skinks – often called pine cone lizards in Japan – were protected in Western Australia under the Wildlife Conservation Act.
The man was charged with attempting to export a regulated native specimen and subjecting a protected species to cruel treatment.
The maximum penalties for such offences are 10 years imprisonment or a fine of $110,000, or both.
The man was remanded in custody to appear in court next month. – AAP