Man fined S$6,600 for keeping star tortoises, hedgehog

Man fined S$6,600 for keeping star tortoises, hedgehog

Two Indian star tortoises and a hedgehog seized in an AVA operation on Mar 8. (Photo: AVA)

SINGAPORE: A man was fined S$6,600 on Wednesday (Sep 13) for keeping two Indian star tortoises and a hedgehog, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said.

Lim Kok Huat, 33, had meant to sell the animals.

In a media release, AVA said it received a tip-off on Feb 28 that an individual was selling illegal wildlife online and conducted a sting operation on Mar 8. 

The tortoises and hedgehog were seized and placed under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The keeping or selling of wild animals is not allowed in Singapore as the demand for such creatures would "fuel illegal wildlife trade", said AVA, adding that the animals may also pose a public safety risk if they are mishandled or if they transmit diseases to humans. 

Releasing non-native wild animals may also threaten biodiversity, the agency said. 

The Indian star tortoise is a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna or Flora (CITES).

Those convicted of illegally importing or exporting, possessing and selling CITES-protected species can be fined up to S$500,000, jailed two years or both. 

It is also an offence to keep or sell wild animals not protected by CITES, such as hedgehogs. Offenders can be fined up to S$1,000.

Source: CNA/hs