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Master of Science Candidate
Smuggling snakes: A study on the global trade of Green Pythons (Morelia viridis)
The trade in wildlife for pets is a multi-million dollar industry, and demands species that are brightly coloured, attractively marked, rare and unique. One of the most sought after reptiles in the pet trade is the green python (Morelia viridis). Currently, Indonesia is the only country that permits the export of green pythons for the pet trade. This trade is internationally regulated by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The green python is the number one captive-bred CITES-listed species exported from Indonesia and is one of the top ten most heavily traded captive-bred CITES-listed reptile species in the world. However, a growing number of reports suggest that the majority of green pythons are illegally collected from the wild and laundered through breeding farms to be exported as ‘captive-bred’. Presently, there is no easy method for differentiating between wild-caught and captive-bred reptiles destined for export. My research aims to provide quantitative data relating to the illegal trade and laundering of the green python, and other wildlife, through breeding farms in Indonesia. My research provides evidence that there is a thriving illegal trade of green pythons and documents this trade from its source to destination. Presently, the green python is being used as a flagship species to promote the captive breeding of reptiles, and many other species, in Indonesia.
Supervisor: Prof Michael Archer
Co-Supervisor: A/Prof Sue Hand
Lyons JA, Natusch DJD, Shepherd, CR (in press) Australasian Turtle Trade: Status and trade of freshwater turtles (Family: Chelidae) harvested from Papua, Indonesia, for the international pet trade. Oryx.
Lyons JA, Natusch, DJD (2012) Consumer driven conservation of green pythons is possible if the price is right: A reply to Pernetta (2012). Biological Conservation 147:2.
Lyons JA, Natusch DJD (2012) Over-stepping the quota? The trade in Sugar Gliders Petaurus breviceps in West Papua, Indonesia. TRAFFIC Bulletin 24(1):5.
Natusch DJD, Lyons JA (2012) Distribution, ecological attributes and trade of the New Guinea Carpet Python (Morelia spilota) in Indonesia. Australian Journal of Zoology 59: 236-241.
Natusch DJD, Lyons JA (2012) Ecological attributes and trade of the white-lipped pythons (Genus Leiopython) in Indonesian New Guinea. Australian Journal of Zoology 59(5): 339-343.
Natusch DJD, Lyons JA (2012) Exploited for pets: The harvest and trade of amphibians and reptiles from Indonesian New Guinea. Biodiversity and Conservation 21(11): 2899-2911.
Natusch DJD, Lyons JA (2012) Relationships between ontogenetic changes in prey selection, head shape, sexual maturity and colour in an Australasian python (Morelia viridis). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 107(2):269-276.
Lyons JA and Natusch DJD (2011) Wildlife laundering through breeding farms: Illegal harvest, population declines and a means of regulating the trade of green pythons (Morelia viridis) from Indonesia. Biological Conservation 144:3073-3081.
Natusch DJD, Lyons JA (2011) The harvest of Antaresia maculosa from West Papua, Indonesia. Herpetological Review 42:509-511.