Posted by David Williams on January 14, 2000 at 22:18:54:
German pleads guilty to smuggling lizards, pythons
AAP -- A 36-year-old German man pleaded guilty today to exporting and attempting to export more than 80 Australian native animals, including lizards and pythons.
Lutz Obelgoenner also pleaded guilty to two animal cruelty charges under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Obelgoenner had been under surveillance by Customs officials for more than a month before he was arrested on December 24 in Geraldton, 400km north of Perth, trying to send a parcel of 59 skinks to Germany.
Skinks are a rare species of lizard native to Western Australia's Pilbara and Murchison district.
Obelgoenner admitted taking the animals - 67 skinks, five pygmy pythons, one stimson python, nine monitor lizards and four geckoes - from various locations around northern WA over a period of nearly eight months.
He pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrate's Court to a total of six export, attempted export and animal cruelty charges under the Wildlife Protection Act.
He also pleaded guilty to a further eight charges under WA law of illegally taking protected fauna.
Bail was refused on the commonwealth charges and Obelgoenner was remanded in custody.
He is due to be sentenced on March 3.
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