Man fined S$6,600 for keeping star tortoises, hedgehog

Channel NewsAsia 13 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE: A man was fined S$6,600 on Wednesday (Sep 13) for keeping two Indian star tortoises and a hedgehog, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said.

Lim Kok Huat, 33, had meant to sell the animals.

In a media release, AVA said it received a tip-off on Feb 28 that an individual was selling illegal wildlife online and conducted a sting operation on Mar 8.

The tortoises and hedgehog were seized and placed under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The keeping or selling of wild animals is not allowed in Singapore as the demand for such creatures would "fuel illegal wildlife trade", said AVA, adding that the animals may also pose a public safety risk if they are mishandled or if they transmit diseases to humans.

Releasing non-native wild animals may also threaten biodiversity, the agency said.

The Indian star tortoise is a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna or Flora (CITES).

Those convicted of illegally importing or exporting, possessing and selling CITES-protected species can be fined up to S$500,000, jailed two years or both.

It is also an offence to keep or sell wild animals not protected by CITES, such as hedgehogs. Offenders can be fined up to S$1,000.
Source: CNA/hs



Man fined for possessing and selling illegal wildlife
ASYRAF KAMIL Today Online 13 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE – A 33-year-old man has been fined S$6,600 for the possession and keeping of illegal wildlife, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) Wednesday (Sept 13).

Lim Kok Huat was found to have kept two Indian star tortoises and a hedgehog, which were meant for sale online. The AVA said they had received a tip-off that an individual was selling illegal wildlife and had worked to monitor his activities with their informant.

During their investigations, the AVA found that Lim had use plastic containers to transport the star tortoises and hedgehog.

A sting operation was then conducted on 8 March 2017.

In a media release, the AVA said that the keeping and selling of wild animals, such as tortoises and hedgehogs, are not allowed in Singapore and that demand for such wildlife would fuel illegal wildlife trade.

“Wild animals are not suitable pets as they may transmit zoonotic diseases to humans and can be a public safety risk if mishandled or if they escape into our dense urban environment. In addition, wild animals that are non-native to Singapore may also be a threat to our biodiversity if released into the environment,” the AVA said.

According to the AVA, it is an offence to illegally import and export, possess, sell, offer and advertise for sale or display to public any illegal wildlife species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) of Wild Fauna or Flora, including the online sales of such wildlife species.

The Indian star tortoise is protected under Cites but the hedgehog, while classified as an illegal wildlife, is not protected under the law.

For possessing the star tortoises, Lim could have been fined up to S$500,000 and/or two years’ jail, while he could have been liable to a fine of not exceeding S$1,000 for the possession of the hedgehog.

The AVA said that while they continue to ensure measures against illegal trading of wildlife is enforced, members of the public could play their part to report suspected cases of illegal animals being smuggled or offered for sale in Singapore.

Those with information on illegal wildlife activities may contact the AVA at 6805 2992 to make a report.

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