A man is facing charges after he allegedly attempted to sell a baby wallaby on Facebook, attracting bids as high as Aus$10,000 (US$9,291) before he was caught, officials said Thursday.
The marsupial was rescued by Western Australia's Department of Parks and Wildlife after an officer posing as a potential buyer met the man in a car park in Broome, in the state's north.
The 26-year-old, who faces five offences under the Wildlife Conservation Act, had allegedly advertised the joey for sale for Aus$3,500, wildlife officer Peter Carstairs said.
"We understand there was an offer of up to Aus$10,000 from a buyer visiting from overseas," Carstairs said of the wallaby, a native animal which ressembles a smaller version of the kangaroo.
The man faces penalties of up to Aus$4,000 for some of the charges he faces, which include possession of and selling of protected fauna.
Carstairs said the department became aware of the situation after local residents complained.
"The community outrage generated by this incident shows that people really care about protecting our native wildlife," he told national broadcaster ABC.
"It is illegal to sell or possess any part of a native animal in Western Australia unless you have a wildlife licence. There is a black market trade in Australian wildlife and it is a practice that must be stopped."
The joey, which had been brought into Western Australia from neighbouring Northern Territory, is being cared for by wildlife experts.
It will eventually be returned to the Northern Territory and released into the wild.