The Star - Malaysia
July 25, 2005


Pet shops openly flouting international wildlife laws

July 25, 2005

SOME pet shops in Singapore are openly selling endangered animals despite knowing it is illegal. 

This month, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) raided 20 pet shops and found six selling turtles protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).  

In all, 33 turtles were seized.  

The cases are still being investigated, said the AVA's senior wildlife enforcement officer Bobby Lee. 

The turtles have been given to the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum in the Chinese Garden in Jurong. 

UNDER THREAT: Two Chinese stripe-necked turtles in an undated photograph taken in Singapore. ? AFPpic

AVA was acting on a survey by activist group Animal Concerns Research Education Society (Acres), which visited 100 pet shops last month and this, and found 20 selling endangered species. 

Armed with a video camera, Acres staff posed as customers to find out if the shops sold endangered turtles, where they got them and how much they sold them for. 

They found that 20 shops were openly selling five species ? Chinese softshell turtle, Chinese stripe-necked turtle, pig-nosed turtle, Australian snake-necked turtle and another unknown species. 

Depending on size and species, the turtles were sold for between S$2.50 (RM5.70) and S$80 (RM182) each.  

They are believed to have come from Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. 

The law states that anyone caught importing or exporting animals that fall under the Endangered Species Act without a Cites permit can be fined up to S$5,000 (RM11,390) per species and jailed for up to one year. 

Anyone caught displaying the animals without an AVA permit also faces a fine of the same amount. ? The Straits Times/ANN  

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