A few years ago, one of those Johnny-Depp-pirate movies — it may have been 5 — was filming down the highway at the Gold Coast.
The set was plagued by drama when it was discovered Depp and then wife Amber Heard had illegally brought two dogs into the country.
This prompted deputy premier Banaby-the-bloody-carp Joyce (right, not exactly as shown) to question Depp’s acting ability after the couple apologized, which shows how small Australia is because now Joyce is embroiled in his own scandalous activities, involving humans, not pets.
Behind the sideshow of movie making, divorce and apologies, a Canberra university student was on Thursday fined for illegally possessing and importing exotic animal remains into Australia, in a case that has shed some light on the shadowy world of wildlife trade.
Alexandra Back of the Canberra Times reports that for years, avid collector Brent Philip Counsell, 28, dealt in what a magistrate described as a “macabre” trade of skulls and animal specimens, once selling a primate skull to the people making the Pirates of the Caribbean movie in Brisbane.
In 2016 authorities from the department of environment raided Counsell’s home in Deakin where they found and seized about 100 animal specimens from the living room and bedroom.
Australian environment law makes it illegal to either possess or import protected exotic animal specimens without a permit.
Over several years, Counsell either illegally imported or possessed a small primate skull threaded on a necklace, the skulls of a brown bear and a gibbon, a taxidermy buzzard, water monitor lizard, and teeth from a bear and a hippopotamus tooth.
When he spoke to investigators, Counsell admitted possessing and selling species from his website wulfe.com.au, which he had since shut down.
One of the charges stemmed from an admission Counsell made to authorities after they had searched his home, that he had sold a primate skull to the “people” behind the Pirates of the Caribbean movie that was filming in Brisbane.
He tried to avoid detection, and prosecutors found on his phone articles that offered tips about how to send skulls overseas without being noticed by customs.