Gecko smuggler caught out by Wildlife Enforcement Group
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionA German tourist, Manfred Bachmann was apprehended in Christchurch on Sunday with 16 endangered jewelled geckos in his possession.
Date: 16 February 2010
A German tourist, Manfred Bachmann was apprehended in Christchurch on Sunday with 16 endangered jewelled geckos in his possession.
Department of Conservation’s Stuart Williamson, who works with the Wildlife Enforcement Group, said that the geckos had been placed in plastic tubes that were sealed shut with tape.
The geckos had been placed in plastic
“The stress involved in their capture, and being placed in plastic tubes, placed their health at great risk. Of the 16 geckos found in Bachmann’s possession, 11 were female, and nine of those were pregnant.”
“People need to understand that attempting to take any New Zealand native species from the wild will not be tolerated.”
“We take these situations very seriously, and the Wildlife Enforcement Group places a top priority on guarding New Zealand’s native wildlife from exploitation. Even low levels of poaching can place small populations of jewelled gecko at risk of extinction” he said.
Bachmann appeared in court yesterday and plead guilty to being in possession of absolutely protected wildlife under the Wildlife Act (1953).
One of the geckos following release
Two other men, one from Switzerland and one from Spain, have appeared in court today in connection with the discovery of the rare geckos and have been charged with taking and possession of absolutely protected wildlife. They have been remanded in custody and are due back in court tomorrow.
“The arrests and court appearances of these men has shown the continued need for vigilance to prevent the crime of trading in native wildlife,” said Williamson.
Last month, a German tourist, Hans Kubus was jailed for 14 weeks and fined $5000 after he was found attempting to smuggle 44 native New Zealand gecko and skink out of the country in his underwear.
The Wildlife Enforcement Group (WEG), which works to prevent the trade in endangered species, is a partnership between the Department of Conservation, New Zealand Customs Service and the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry.
Jewelled geckos are found in pockets of habitat in eastern areas of the South Island, but numbers are greatly reduced due to predation by introduced mammals as well as habitat destruction. This has resulted in very small populations in some areas, which are at risk of any disturbance, including poaching.