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.