Wildlife compliance and enforcement
DEPI manages wildlife management issues across Victoria, including issuing legal permits to keep or trade wildlife. DEPI also manages illegal use of public land and forest products, providing statewide compliance services.
What is compliance?
By "compliance" we mean the delivery of DEPI's regulatory responsibilities. This involves enforcing legislation by responding to public complaints, conducting investigations, issuing fines and prosecuting cases through the courts. This is to help deter and reduce illegal activities.
By working together with the Victorian community, DEPI can reduce the impacts of environmental crime to ensure future generations can enjoy our flora and fauna.
- Report environmental crime
- Common offences
- Disease and safety risks
- Enforcement activities
- DEPI Compliance and Enforcement Services
- Use of concealed cameras on public land for compliance activities
DEPI receives more than 300 calls each year from members of the public with information about environmental crimes.
These calls range from wildlife smuggling, keeping or selling native or high risk invasive species without the relevant permit, and the removal of native plants and animals from the wild.
However, there are still people illegally removing, killing and trading animals from the wild.
Please help put a stop to it.
Report environment, wildlife and forestry crime to 136 186 or email email@example.com
Victoria's wildlife is protected and it's an offence under the Wildlife Act 1975 to keep or trade in native species without the appropriate permit or licence.
Wildlife offences commonly detected by DEPI include the illegal import, keeping and sale of snakes, lizards, native birds and turtles to collectors.
Illegal and uncontrolled ownership of wildlife from overseas can place native wildlife and our environment at risk by potentially introducing unwanted high risk invasive species and diseases.
If overseas snakes like boa constrictors or venomous species are accidentally or deliberately released into the bush, they could cause havoc with Victoria's biodiversity – killing or competing with our own native species for food.
Besides potentially spreading diseases to our native python population, they would also rely on hunting small native animals for food.
Regional compliance services across Victoria include regular patrols, monitoring permit holders to make sure they abide by licence conditions, providing front counter advice and supervising hunting licence testing.
Severe penalties exist under State and Federal laws for wildlife offences. These reflect the detrimental impact of illegal activities on our environment and endangered species.
Current penalties are:
- Any person illegally possessing, breeding, trading or displaying native wildlife without a licence is liable for fines up to $28,000 ($28,668) and/or 2 years' imprisonment.
- Any person who imports, keeps or trades in prohibited wildlife from overseas is liable for fines of up to $110,000 and/or 10 years' jail under Commonwealth Legislation and up to $57,000 ($57,336) for offences under Victorian law.
(Commonwealth Legislation refers to offences under Section 303EK Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.)
In the past year, the DEPI laid 601 charges involving wildlife, forestry, marine and hunting offences in Victoria.
DEPI has had some really good success stories with major investigations and prosecutions of environmental offences over recent years.
Compliance cases also regularly go through the magistrate's court system. Infringement notices and fines are also issued for minor offences.
Our compliance services team works in close cooperation with other Government agencies including Victoria Police, Customs, Parks Victoria and the Game Management Authority to investigate and prevent environmental crimes involving forestry, native wildlife and high risk invasive animals.
DEPI also delivers targeted extension programs and education campaigns to improve community awareness and voluntary compliance.
Informative presentations, targeted communications campaigns, regular media coverage and intelligence gathering are integral to the success of DEPI's investigations and operations.
All this work is an important part of DEPI's compliance cycle.
DEPI utilises concealed camera technology on public land for the purpose of gathering evidence and information of people committing alleged offences under legislation administered by DEPI. These offences include habitat destruction, theft of forest produce, illegal hunting activities, wildlife poaching, rubbish dumping and arson detection.
Concealed camera operations are run according to strict DEPI procedures and cameras are only installed by DEPI authorised officers at locations on public land where alleged offences have been detected. All DEPI concealed cameras are installed within the requirements of the Surveillance Devices Act 1999. Images of a private nature not relevant to the alleged offences detected are destroyed.
What do DEPI's Compliance Support Group do?
- Coordinates, supervises and investigates high priority environmental crime.
- Provides guidance and investigations support to regional based DEPI Compliance Officers
- Oversees training and development of DEPI wildlife and forest officers
- Provides intelligence services and liaises with other environmental agencies and police - particularly on illegal wildlife trade and forestry offences.