THE race is on to save a family of baby alligators and at least 20 of their reptile friends after thieves raided a NSW wildlife park overnight.
Authorities fear the newest arrivals at the Australian Wildlife Park on the Central Coast, which include snakes, lizards and turtles, could be destined for sale on the black market.
The 23 recently-hatched reptiles were stolen from their enclosures about 11pm Sunday.
A police spokesperson said on Monday there were significant concerns for the safety of the high maintenance reptiles which, without proper care, were unlikely to survive.
In the past 12 months the number of bizarre police investigations involving rare reptiles in NSW has increased.
A Cessnock man is currently before the courts over the theft of two alligators and pythons from the Hunter Valley Zoo last September.
A 21-year-old Sydney man was charged with possessing protected fauna when a crocodile and snakes were discovered during drug raids earlier in the year.
Police are reviewing CCTV footage from Sunday night which, according to the Herald, shows intruders smashing into a series of cages and tanks.
Anyone with information can phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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