TWO carpet pythons and a bearded dragon have been handed over to the Halls Gap Zoo by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.
The three reptiles were presented to zoo owner Greg Culell by DEPI Bendigo compliance officer, Phuong Tran, to commence a new life.
Ms Tran said the reptiles were surrendered to the department earlier this year.
"These were animals that people in the Bendigo region had previously held under a licence, but due to varying circumstances, were no longer able to keep.
"Sometimes people obtain juvenile animals which over time simply outgrow their owners, or peoples wildlife licences have expired and they've contacted the department for advice."
"We've transferred two native pythons, which measured more than six foot each, and a lizard to Halls Gap Zoo for safekeeping."
Ms Tran said wildlife that has been bred and kept in captivity cannot be release back to the wild. She said the Halls Gap Zoo was the ideal location for them.
"The animals will be used in the zoo's demonstrations and displays to help educate the public about our native wildlife," Ms Tran said.
"We encourage anyone buying wildlife to think through their purchase and consider the welfare of the animal for its entire life.
"This recent wildlife acquisition is a timely reminder to all wildlife licence holders to check the validity of their own licences.
"Under the Wildlife Act 1975, all wildlife in Victoria is protected and cannot be taken, killed, harassed, trapped, traded or held in captivity without the appropriate licence.
"The maximum penalty for possessing wildlife in Victoria that has been unlawfully acquired is $34,646 and/or two years imprisonment."
Information on wildlife licences is available at: http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/wildlife/keeping-and-trading-wildlife/privatewildlife-licences
For more information about private wildlife licences, please contact the DEPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.