Two men have been jailed over an attempt to smuggle more than a dozen bobtail lizards out of Australia.
The Japanese duo tried to sneak 13 of the native reptiles out of the country via Perth Airport in June.
But their plan was undone after the lizards were discovered by Australian Border Force officers inside one of the men’s check-in luggage.
The lizards had been placed inside netted laundry bags which were wrapped in towels and placed inside two plastic containers. The containers were then packed into a suitcase.
Authorities said a number of the lizards had since died. Others remain in poor health.
Yusuke Imanishi, 52, was today sentenced by a Perth magistrate to a five-month prison term after pleading guilty to smuggling and animal cruelty charges.
His 28-year-old co-accused, Daisuke Kobayashi, was given the same jail term for his role collecting the lizards when he faced court earlier this month.
The ABF said both men would be removed from the country once they’ve served their sentences. They must each serve a minimum of two month.
Wildlife smuggling is a lucrative trade, with Australian bobtails attracting up to $10,000 each on the international black market.
The maximum penalty for wildlife trade offences under Australian law is 10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $210,000 for individuals or $1.05m for corporations.