Thieves steal exotic reptiles from Australian zoo

Jul 15, 2013
Juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are seen at the Australian Reptile Park at Gosford, near Sydney, on October 8, 2004. Thieves stole a horde of exotic reptiles from the park, including a baby alligator, leaving their keepers fearing they could be destined for the black market.

Thieves stole a horde of exotic reptiles from an Australian zoo, including a baby alligator, leaving their keepers fearing they could be destined for the black market.

Twenty-three creatures, mostly snakes, lizards and geckos, were taken from their enclosures at the Australian Reptile Park north of Sydney during a night-time raid on Sunday, senior curator Liz Vella said.

"They had smashed through the enclosures and broken doors," she told AFP, in a which lasted about seven minutes.

"These guys obviously came in with the purpose of taking the . They definitely knew what they wanted."

Vella said officials were still speculating on the motive behind the robbery, but usually such thefts were by young people who "wanted a bunch of for their home and to show off to their friends".

"(But) it's definitely a concern that they will try to sell them on the ," she said.

She said the black market value of the animals sold together was only about Aus$10,000 (US$9,000) but their value to the keepers who had cared for them, often for years, was "a lot more".

Reptile park staff said none of the animals stolen was dangerous but they feared they may not survive being pulled from their specially-controlled environments, particularly during the cool of the southern hemisphere winter.

They might also present a danger to each other if kept in close proximity.

Vella said staff were devastated that the animals, which included an alligator hatchling, had been taken.

Police are investigating the robbery.

Explore further: NOAA's Marine Debris Program reports on the national issue of derelict fishing traps

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Australian zoo probes mystery rhino deaths

Mar 21, 2012

An Australian outback zoo was Wednesday investigating the sudden and mystifying deaths of four white rhinos who showed "neurologic abnormalities" like stumbling.

Rare albino alligator goes on show in US

Oct 07, 2011

An extremely rare albino alligator from the swamps of Louisiana is taking up residence in Washington, dazzling visitors with her brilliant white skin.

S. Korea to release dolphin back into wild

May 11, 2013

A 13-year-old dolphin was Saturday being transported to an ocean pen off a South Korean island for training to prepare it for release back into the wild after four years in a Seoul zoo, officials said.

Recommended for you

New study charts the global invasion of crop pests

6 hours ago

Many of the world's most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

Zambia lifts ban on safari hunting

7 hours ago

Zambia has lifted a 20-month ban on safari hunting because it has lost too much revenue, but lions and leopards will remain protected, the government said Wednesday.

The devastating spread of the mountain pine beetle

14 hours ago

When the mountain pine beetle began blazing a path across forests in British Columbia and Alberta, nobody could have imagined the extent of the damage to come. But as the insect devastated pine forests and ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sinister1811
1 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2013
I hope they catch these thieves and throw them in prison for a few years.