Lizard smuggler sentenced
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionHans Kurt Kubus – who was was caught smuggling lizards by the New Zealand Customs Service at Christchurch Airport on Sunday 6 December 2009 – has been sentenced.
Date: 26 January 2010
Hans Kurt Kubus – who was was caught smuggling lizards by the New Zealand Customs Service at Christchurch Airport on Sunday 6 December 2009 – was sentenced today.
The Department of Conservation is hoping this case will highlight to New Zealanders and those visiting the country, the plight of our native species.
“New Zealand has some very special lizards that are absolutely protected and need to be left where they are,” DOC officer, Jack van Hal said.
“Our native reptiles are already under threat from habitat loss and predation and poaching is an added pressure they could certainly do without. Several endemic lizards are exceptionally rare and threatened and it is illegal to capture or hold any lizard species without authority.
“Removing lizards from the wild and taking them into captivity, at any scale (from innocent collection by children through to well organised smuggling such as this case), presents the department with a serious dilemma. Unless specific capture sites are known and we can be sure that animals are disease-free, it is not possible to release these back into the wild and other options need to be looked at for these animals.”