Two highly venomous olive sea snakes seized from a Hervey Bay business have been released into the ocean off Hervey Bay.

In May, a member of the public tipped off the Department of Environment and Science that a sea snake had been illegally captured from the Great Sandy Marine Park and was being kept in a tank at a Hervey Bay business.

When wildlife officers investigated, they found that the sea snake had given birth while in captivity and seized both snakes.

Chris Heckathorn, wildlife officer, said the fact the snake gave birth whilst in captivity added further intrigue to the investigation, but they were able to successfully release them at the location where the adult was caught.

“It is rare for wild-caught animals to be released again, as there is an increased risk that they will introduce disease into wild populations.

“Thankfully in this case, the time since capture and the method of keeping the snakes minimised these risks.”

The release of the juvenile sea snake.

Heckathorn said the Department of Environment and Science would like to thank the person who provided the information about the snakes.

“Wildlife officers have zero-tolerance for people who break the rules and unlawfully take native animals from the wild, and many people in our community feel the same way.

“A lot of our compliance activity is based on tip-offs from members of the public, and we get a surprising number of reports about people unlawfully capturing native wildlife without a relevant permit.

“Most of these involve freshwater turtles or snakes, presumably because it is relatively easy to find turtles in public lakes, or pythons in scrub land or at residential houses.”

Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, capturing native animals from the wild without a relevant permit is prohibited.

Heckathorn said it is still an offence to keep an illegally caught animal, even if you were not the one who initially captured it.

“People can keep native animals, but they must obtain a relevant permit and must purchase the animal from a legal source such as another licence holder or a pet store,” he said.

“The maximum penalty for unlawfully keeping an olive sea snake is $13,785, and wildlife officers can issue a $689 on the spot fine.”

Heckathorn reminded people that corals, marine plants, and all species of reptiles, birds and mammals are prohibited to be taken from Queensland’s Marine Parks.

To stay up-to-date on the latest industry headlines, sign up to the Pet Industry News e-newsletter.