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DOC disgusted by hoaxer’s idea of a joke

30 September 2005

DOC disgusted by hoaxer’s idea of a joke by offering a live dolphin for sale

The advertisement of a captured live dolphin on an on-line auction site earlier this week has turned out to be a 40-year old advertising manager’s sad idea of a joke a member of the government’s Wildlife Enforcement Group (WEG) said today.

The man was interviewed today [Friday 30th September] by Peter Younger who is the Department of Conservation’s representative in WEG. “The seller’s property has been searched and we can confirm this was nothing more than this person’s idea of fun” Mr Younger said today.

“The seller stated that he had done it for a “laugh” and thought his friends would find it amusing.”

“Considerable time and resources were required to investigate the incident and respond to enquiries, which flooded in from all over the New Zealand and internationally. Unfortunately, this waste of tax payers’ money is not an isolated incident, but the third in as many months where protected wildlife has been offered for sale on the Internet.”

“These are not the efforts of criminals attempting to extort money, nor are they the amateurish attempts by young people who play on the net. These hoaxes were dreamed up by “mature” educated business professionals who, quite frankly, you would expect more from.” Mr Younger said.

Earlier this year, a Wellington-based I.T. manager was responsible for an advert claiming he had a juvenile brown kiwi, provoking a rash of correspondence from members of the public who said they were concerned and disgusted by the person’s actions.

A recent case originating in the USA involved a company and a professionally constructed website claiming to have penguins for sale and breeding facilities in New Zealand.

WEG is an interdepartmental enforcement group made up of representatives from DOC, MAF and Customs. The group’s primary focus is investigating the serious issue of organised illegal trade in wild flora and fauna.

“Wildlife trade, both legal and illegal, was a growing problem around the globe with devastating implications on animal welfare and conservation”, Mr Younger said. The Internet was increasingly playing a central role in this trade, creating new challenges to legislators and enforcement agencies.

A report entitled “Caught in the Web”, published in July this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, found that, each week, thousands of animals and animal parts are being offered for sale on the Internet. In an intensive one week survey, IFAW found more than 9,000 wild animal products and specimens and live wild animals for sale, predominantly from species protected by law. As this survey was limited to certain species and products, IFAW believe this is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

The full report can be found at: http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/dimages/custom/2_Publications/Wildlife/CaughtInTheWeb.pdf

ENDS

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