Wildlife trafficking is believed to be the third most valuable illicit trade in the world, after drugs and weapons, and continues to grow considerably. This outrageous trade continues to rage, while leaders fail to take appropriate steps to deal with it.

In the most recent case, a reptile smuggling ring was uncovered in Melbourne, Australia, and more than 150 lizards were found. They were cruelly folded together from head-to-toe with masking tape – and stuffed inside toys, deep fryers, chip packets and powdered drink tins.

So cruel was the act, that when authorities found them, the lizards were barely alive, covered in their own excrement and gasping for breath. To avoid detection, they were wrapped in aluminum foil and Plasticine. The lizards were bound for China and Japan.

Twelve of the reptiles died from either suffocation or trauma, and the surviving lizards were sent to sanctuaries and zoos.

It was not clear if any arrests were made, or if the investigation was followed up on.

David Barritt, chief campaigner for Network for Animals (NFA) welcomed the rescue but said much more needed to be done to stop wildlife trafficking.

“This form of cruelty is happening all over the world, and decisive change ultimately involves political action. Greater law enforcement and severe penalties need to be implemented across the world.”