Biosecurity and Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Brisbane Airport recently intercepted two live squirrels, allegedly smuggled in by an Australian resident returning from Bali.
After information about the traveller was received through Border Watch, ABF officers approached the individual at the airport and located the squirrels.
Head of Biosecurity Operations at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Nico Padovan, said the passenger had put the nation’s animal and human health at risk.
“The fact that this passenger would intentionally breach our biosecurity conditions and put our country at risk is unbelievable,” Mr Padovan said.
“Live animals from overseas can carry a range of serious diseases that are dangerous for Australian animals as well as humans.
“Squirrels can carry rabies—which is present in Bali—and if this disease was to arrive here the toll on human and animal health would be huge. Every year more than 60,000 people worldwide die from rabies.
“Biosecurity is no joke and the passenger is now subject to an investigation and could face a range of serious penalties, including criminal prosecution.”
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