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February 24, 2024

Stolen python returned to the wild

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NPWS ranger Andrew Fray releases the stolen python back into the wild at Bungawalbin. Photo supplied
NPWS ranger Andrew Fray releases the stolen python back into the wild at Bungawalbin. Photo supplied

A carpet python which completed a 3000-kilometre round trip has been returned to its natural habitat in Bungawalbin, near Coraki.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Area Manager, Nathan Oliver, said that the 1.8 metre Coastal Carpet Python was seized by Victorian Police officers from a NSW man, who was allegedly found doorknocking residents’ houses while carrying the snake in a bag.

‘The python was turned over to the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries’ (DEPI) wildlife officers to investigate its origin,’ Mr Oliver said.

‘It is alleged that the carpet python was brought into Victoria by a man living in NSW, who took it from the wild in Bungawalbin,’ Mr Oliver said.

‘Carpet pythons are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and must not be taken from the wild. Owners must have a licence to keep them and captive breeders must have a licence to sell them. No wildlife licence is held by the man in either Victoria or NSW’, he added.

‘It is lucky that we were able to get to this python early enough to release it back into the wild.

‘Once these wild pythons have been handled and fed as domestic pets we are unable to return them to the wild due to their lack of hunting instincts and potential to spread disease or bacteria to wild populations,’ Mr Oliver said.

He added the regulations and licences are to ensure wild populations of native species are protected.

Ranger Andrew Fay returned the carpet python to the wild last Friday.

NPWS warns that large penalties apply for illegally possessing protected wildlife. The investigation is ongoing.

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