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South Africa - Man Caught with 1067 Crocs Faces Legal Action

A South African man came before the magistrate’s court in George, a town in the Eastern Cape, on Tuesday after he was found to have 1067 baby crocodiles in his car. Paul Gildenhuys who works for the environmental crime unit of Cape Nature Conservation said the man would be charged with possession and transport of the baby crocodiles without a permit.

The man’s case was handed over to the environmental court of Hermanus after his arrest on 27 February 2006. The origin of the crocodiles has been under investigation.

According to Paul Gildenhuys the baby crocs could be sold for approximately R120 if sold on registered crocodile farms.

Illegal trade of animals is an international problem. Gildenhuys reported that statistics from Interpol (International Policing Agency) reveal that illegal trade in fauna and flora is second only to narcotics world wide. When asked for his perspective on illegal trading of animals, Gildenhuys said: 'Everything that flies, walks, swims and crawls has a price on its head. That's a fact of life.' How true this proves to be when you consider the fact that the figure for illegal trade in fauna and flora is sitting at approximately $ 20 billion (near R124.5 billion) per annum.

Gildenhuys pointed out that South Africa is a hotspot for biodiversity and as such faces an increasing threat to its natural resources.

The number of endemic species in the various biomes of South Africa is amazing and it is vital that we protect them for future generations. Thieves are armed with equipment and specialised knowledge so as to capture animals effectively and without raising suspicion. Public awareness is also important in fighting illegal trade. People are encouraged to avoid purchasing animals or plants from unofficial sources. Action taken in this case can set a precedent for future illegal animal and plant traders.

The man is to appear in Hermanus on 8 May 2006.


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