Australian news story on Exo Terra arrest

Feb 27, 2012
The Reptile Report
by Robyn

The Reptile Report - from The Australian- Six foreign nationals including an Australian have been arrested in Sri Lanka on charges of illegally holding amphibians and reptiles, an official says.

Wildlife department inspectors arrested the men yesterday and they were later released on bail of 50,000 rupees ($400) each and ordered to appear in court on Wednesday.

The official, who declined to be named, said the men from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Venezuela visited the Singharaja rainforest, a biodiversity hotspot, and were accused of capturing frogs, tortoises and lizards.

They were part of a tour led by Exo-Terra, an organisation that says it is the “market leader in reptile products”.

There was no immediate comment from the organisation.

Wildlife officials said the men were arrested in the northwestern town of Puttalam and were about to leave the country.

Possessing exotic plants and animals can be punished with fines of up to $400 for each animal or plant along with a jail term of up to five years.

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