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Australia’s biggest wildlife seizure ever

May 12, 2014

An Australian teacher has been jailed for a year following the discovery of 78 illegal products made from 24 threatened species at his home in Sydney, Wildlife Extra reported.

In what is Australia’s largest-ever haul of illegal products, the authorities findings included 11 orangutan skulls and 25 other skulls of monkeys, lynx,  bears and a tiger; teeth and skins from orangutans, lynx, otters, and a feather headdress made from a bird of paradise.

John Kolettas  was convicted on 24 charges of possessing illegal wildlife products, and jailed for a year, fined Aus$4,000 ( £2 ,200) and ordered to do 384 hours of community service for the possession of specimens listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and  Flora (CITES).

“Wildlife trafficking is a cruel and often barbaric trade that has become more widespread and lucrative and is now valued at billions of dollars worldwide,” said Australia’s Department of Environment. “The community – particularly collectors, travellers and online shoppers – should be aware of what they are buying, what it is made of, and where it is from.

“Without realising it they may be contributing to the decline of threatened  species, simply by purchasing what initially looks like a bargain.”

Australia is one of 178 nations that are signatories to CITES, with the importation of endangered species, or parts of them, illegal without a permit.

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