Published 31 August 2011

Singapore incinerates seized reptile skins from Indonesia

Singapore, 31st August 2011—Authorities in Singapore today announced they have destroyed more than 800 reptile skins seized last year. 

Singapore today incinerated more than 800 seized reptile skins—470 of them Reticulated Python skins. © Mark Auliya / TRAFFIC 

In September 2010, Singapore’s Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) seized five packages containing 470 Reticulated Python Python reticulatus and 363 Water Monitor Lizard Varanus salvator skins sent from Indonesia. 

According to accompanying documentation, the shipment was bound for China, France and the USA via a courier service and had falsely been declared as synthetic leather. 

The skins were sent from Jakarta, although it is suspected they originated from Medan, North Sumatra. 

Both reptiles species are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and may be traded internationally under a permitting system, if in accordance with national laws. 

This shipment, however, did not have the required permits and was therefore seized. 

“The authorities in Singapore are to be commended for intercepting this illegal shipment and for destroying the contraband, which will ensure the skins cannot re-enter the global black market,” said Chris R. Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia. 

“TRAFFIC encourages the Indonesian CITES Management Authority to investigate the source of this illegal shipment and to take appropriate action.”

Illegal trade poses a serious threat to the conservation of several python and monitor lizard species and undermines efforts directed at their sustainable use.