Don’t let your Christmas gift become a Christmas crisis

Issued: 21 Dec 2022

Photo of wildlife officers inspecting a home or businesses to check permits.Open larger image

Wildlife officers routinely inspect homes and businesses to check permits.

Photo of a native bird in a cage.Open larger image

Native animals must be kept in appropriate conditions and suitable cages.

People who are still trying to find the perfect Christmas gift are reminded that a native animal could cost them thousands in fines and the animal could be seized if it is bought or sold without the necessary permit.

Compliance officer Warren Christensen said native animals can be great pets, but they aren’t the same as domesticated pets like cats or dogs.

“Native animals like birds, reptiles and amphibians can require special care, dedicated spaces and specific equipment,” Mr Christensen said.

“People also require permits to keep native animals as pets, and native animals can only be purchased from licenced sellers.

“People in Queensland who sell native animals without the correct permits are breaking the law, and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has zero-tolerance for those who ignore the rules.

“In the lead-up to Christmas, wildlife officers are actively monitoring online marketing pages for people who are attempting to sell native wildlife without the necessary permits.

“Anyone who wants to buy a native animal as a gift should ask the seller to show them their permit, and if they can’t or make an excuse, then the seller should be reported to the department.

“People should also report a seller if their permit has expired, or the animals do not appear to be kept in the right conditions.”

Before you purchase a native animal, ask yourself:

  • Have I done the right research?
  • Do I have dedicated space for the animal?
  • Have I thought about the cost of equipment or what’s needed for a suitable enclosure?
  • Is the seller licenced?

Mr Christensen said the illegal trade of wildlife can ramp up during December, when sellers take advantage of people looking for a special gift.

“It’s quite easy to buy native animals from online marketing websites, and there is no excuse if people don’t ask or don’t know if the seller has the correct permits,” he said.

“Any animal purchased from an unlicenced seller could have been unlawfully taken from the wild, and our laws are designed to protect our native animals and threatened species.

“We will investigate any animal that has been sold without a permit, and we can issue fines to the purchaser and the seller.

“This is because many animals unlawfully taken from the wild will die because they are often placed in inappropriate enclosures or don’t receive the necessary care.

“We are committed to animal welfare and make no apologies for that, and the maximum penalty for wildlife trafficking is up to 10 years imprisonment and a $210,000 fine.”

The illegal trade in wildlife is now the world’s fourth largest organised criminal activity, and people can report the illegal activity anonymously by calling 1300 130 372

For more information about the responsibilities for recreational wildlife licence holders, please visit Keeping native animals.