Mar 01 (HS) A MELBOURNE Zoo keeper has been fined for allegedly illegally holding amphibians and reptiles in Sri Lanka.
Damian Goodall was arrested on Saturday in the northwestern town of Puttalam, while on a tour led by amphibian and reptile product retailer Exo Terre.
What was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a prize won by Mr Goodall for his photography of animals, turned into a nightmare when Sri Lankan authorities searched group members as they prepared to leave their resort villas.
The Belgian leader of the group, Emmanuel Van Heygen, told a US internet radio station Mr Goodall had rescued a frog in the resort's saltwater swimming pool and put it in a bucket of fresh water in his room to rehydrate, which had constituted his charge of illegally holding an amphibian.
He was fined and is returning home.
"This guy is like the nicest guy ever," Mr Van Heygen said. "We have never done anything wrong. All we are doing is getting pictures."
Mr Goodall, 34, was one of six men from Belgium, Australia, Germany and Venezuela who were released on bail of 50,000 rupees (about $380) and appeared in court on Wednesday.