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WA: Man charged over python haul

05 Mar 2009 4:33 PM

PERTH, March 5 AAP - An alleged wildlife smuggler's been caught with a dozen pythons stashed in his car.

Experts say the snakes could have fetched up to $1,500 each on the black market.

West Australian police discovered the snakes when they randomly pulled over the 27-year-old's car on the Eyre Highway at Eucla on Wednesday.

The NSW man's been charged with exporting fauna without a licence and the unlawful possession of protected fauna.

The pythons included six Children's pythons, four Stimson's pythons, an olive python and a black-headed python.

Department of Environment and Conservation senior investigator Rick Dawson said none of the snakes were venomous but they were valuable when offered for sale on the black market.

The snakes are being sent to Perth for health checks.

"Unfortunately it is unlikely that these pythons can be released back into the wild due to the risk of introducing disease to wild populations but we will ensure they are well looked after," Mr Dawson said.

"We take the unlawful possession of protected reptiles and reptile trafficking very seriously and will investigate and prosecute the capture and trafficking of wildlife in WA in a bid to end this cruel practice,"

The charged man will be summonsed to appear in the Kalgoorlie Magistrates court.