yet another smuggler...

erik

Gecko Newbie
Messages
287
Location
Deventer, the Netherlands
A German visitor was caught trying to board a flight at Christchurch Airport on Sunday with endangered geckos and skinks hidden in his underwear.

Hans Kurt Kubus, a 58-year-old from Bad Munstereifel, Limbach, Germany, pleaded guilty in Christchurch District Court today to five charges of trading in exploited species, and two of hunting absolutely protected wildlife.

The court was told the geckos alone would have been worth $50,000 on the blackmarket in Europe. The value of the skinks is unknown.

Department of Conservation prosecutor Mike Bodie said all New Zealand geckos were absolutely protected under the Trade in Endangered Species Act.

He said Kubus was a German citizen who entered New Zealand at Christchurch Airport on November 15.

On Sunday he checked his luggage in at the airport and got a boarding pass to leave New Zealand.

"When searched by New Zealand Customs Service staff a small package was located concealed inside the defendant's underwear," said Mr Bodie.

"The package contained eight separate compartments separating various gecko and skink species. The defendant had hand-sewn the eight compartments together to form a single compact concealed package. The defendant's luggage also contained a single gecko in a rolled up sock."


A DOC herpetologist identified 24 geckos from five species, and 20 skinks of two species.

All the animals had been taken from the wild, contrary to the Wildlife Act.

"It was also determined that 14 our of 15 adult female geckos and 12 out of 14 female skinks in the defendant's possession were pregnant. Each pregnant animal is likely to give birth to multiple live young in the coming weeks."

"When interviewed, the defendant admitted trading geckos and taking geckos and skinks from the wild without any permit or authority and was subsequently arrested."

There was a blackmarket trade in geckos, particularly in Europe, Mr Bodie said.

"The conservative 'street' value of the geckos traded by the defendant is at least 1000 Euros per animal, or about $50,000 for 24 geckos."

The value of the skinks was unknown because this was the first time trading in skinks had been identified.

Judge Raoul Neave remanded Kubus on bail for sentencing on January 25 and asked for a pre-sentence report.

- NZPA

read article here
 

snowgyre

New Member
Messages
588
Location
Athens, GA
I have a tremendous amount of respect for New Zealand customs officials. They know their sh*t when it comes to conservation issues. I was extremely impressed with the wonderful environmental ethic that virtually permeates that entire country.

These smugglers give us all a bad name. >_<
 

erik

Gecko Newbie
Messages
287
Location
Deventer, the Netherlands
And I think Germans are pretty much messing up their reputation in NZ...wasn't it a German guy that sprayed graffiti on a glacier awhile back? He was fined a copious amount of money. It makes me sad to realize that many other reptiles were never detected in the past and have been prostituted for money.

btw. no offense to Germans :D I like or neighbours! (I only resent them when it comes to football!!)
 

Khrysty

New Member
Messages
2,650
Location
Oregon, IL
And I think Germans are pretty much messing up their reputation in NZ...wasn't it a German guy that sprayed graffiti on a glacier awhile back? He was fined a copious amount of money. It makes me sad to realize that many other reptiles were never detected in the past and have been prostituted for money.

btw. no offense to Germans :D I like or neighbours! (I only resent them when it comes to football!!)
Why on earth would anyone tag a glacier? Ugh. People need to leave nature alone and just admire its beauty, not take it upon themselves to do whatever it is they please...
 

Gregg M

Registered Member
Messages
3,055
Location
The Rotten Apple NYC
Here is what I have to say on the smuggling subject since so many of you think it is horrible...

I have news for you, the majority of the animals commonly worked with in the US especially Australian geckos, lizards, and snakes, were smuggled here much in the same way...

My question is, is everyone ok with legally imported reptiles???
Do you realize for every couple of legally imported ball pythons you see at a show or in a pet shop, one dies before it hits the States in that shippment??? Before these animals are shipped out of their native Country, they are sitting in crap filled holding trofs for weeks and even months without food and clean water before they are shipped out...

So honestly, is the guy who is illegally but humanely smuggling geckos really that horrible in comparison???
Not saying I agree with smuggling because it is something I would never attempt... I am just saying even the legal end of the pet trade is not so pretty and in many instances, way worse than packing a few geckos into you underwear for a short plane ride...
 

Yamori

Aussie Reptile Keeper
Messages
626
Location
Australia
I see what your saying mate, and your right, most of the non natives you have and breed in the US were at one point smuggled in being that it is prohibeted to export Australian reptiles without a permit witch very few people have simply becouse its so hard to get one.

It is wrong and against the law but it happens.

Just noticed a mistake, they stated that the geckos and skinks he had on his person or undawear lol (poor reptiles haha) were going to bear live young. No geckos give birth to live young and not many skinks do either, infact verry few do.

Lol i hear the other guy who smuggled reptiles from Australia is getting 20 years behind bars and a $250.000 fine.
 

snowgyre

New Member
Messages
588
Location
Athens, GA
Actually, many New Zealand geckos (notable the Naultinus genus) give birth to live young. That's one of the reasons they're so appealing. In skinks, live birth is actually fairly common (think blue-tongued skinks).

Regardless of the ethics of importing animals in general, smuggling should never be condoned or compared with legal shipping. It's that comparison that gives skeptics of the reptile trade ammunition and leverage to ban the hobby.
 

Tony C

Wayward Frogger
Messages
3,899
Location
Columbia, SC
I have news for you, the majority of the animals commonly worked with in the US especially Australian geckos, lizards, and snakes, were smuggled here much in the same way...
Do Australia and New Zealand allow any legal export of CB or wild caught reptiles? If not, why? It seems that having a process to legally export reptiles would reduce smuggling significantly.
 

LizMarie

New Member
Messages
2,002
Location
NYC
As long as people are willing to pay the $$$ people are going to go around smuggling, so it's never going to end. I can just pray that these animals are treated with respect and not left to die.

Why on earth would anyone tag a glacier? Ugh.
My thoughts exactly!!! I've seen tagged up train stations, buses and stores but never seen or heard of someone tagging up a glacier of all things.
 
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