Exotic mini-zoo seized from Singapore flat

2013-06-18 11:59

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Singapore – More than 30 wild animals, including pythons, tortoises, a slow loris and a marmoset have been seized from a flat in Singapore in the city’s largest such haul of banned wildlife in more than a decade.

The owner, who kept the animals in a public housing apartment, could be jailed for two years and fined up to Sg$500 000 (R3.9 million), the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a statement.

The 32 animals included a Sunda slow loris, a nocturnal tree-dwelling primate; a common marmoset, a small monkey with a long tail; and three ball pythons, which are popular in the pet trade because of their docile nature.

There were also three black-tailed prairie dogs, several types of tortoise, five ornate horned frogs, an iguana, a gecko and a degu, a small rodent endemic to central Chile.

“The seizure, which includes highly endangered and threatened species like the slow loris, marmoset, Indian star tortoise and ball python, is AVA’s largest inland seizure of wildlife since 2002,” the agency said in a statement.

“A man is currently assisting AVA in the investigations.”

Residents in public housing, where most Singaporeans live, are only allowed to keep approved pets such as non-endangered birds, aquarium fish and one small dog per household.

The animals, which were rescued earlier this month, are now in the care of a company running the Singapore Zoo, said the AVA, which raided the flat after a tipoff.

It warned the public that keeping illegal wildlife could pose health hazards and threaten the densely populated tropical island’s biodiversity if the animals enter the local environment.

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