Some 311 specimens of protected species have been apprehended by customs near Arras (Pas de Calais) during an environmental police operation, according to a ministerial statement today.
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On 4 November, during the "Reptile Day" event, a "large-scale" operation was carried out by the customs agents of Saint-Omer and Arras, police and members of the National Office of Hunting and Wildlife (ONCFS), the ministers announced of the ecological and solidarity transition François de Rugy and the public accounts, Gerald Darmanin, in a joint statement.
The operation "found many offenses and the apprehension of illegally carried out protected species". Among these animals – of 40 different species – there were 54 chameleons, as well as serpents, aquatic turtles, lizards, geckos, amphibians and spiders.
Six exhibitors registered in the program, from Hungarian, Dutch and Belgian nationalities, will be sent to the criminal court, informed the AFP of the prosecutor's office in Arras. They incorporate prison sentences and fines, as well as confiscation of animals. In addition, two people of British and Belgian nationality have been sanctioned for "heavy fines" for the detention without evidence of chameleons, regardless of exposure, according to the customs service.
Ratified in France in 1978 and in force in more than 180 countries, the Washington Convention prohibits or imposes restrictions on international trade in endangered animal and plant species.
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