It's simple. Because Australia's borders are closed, the founding stock was mainly smuggled from Australia. US Fish and Wildlife will not issue a CITES permit for ANY Australian reptile unless it can be proven without a shadow of a doubt that the founding parents were legally obtained.
It makes sense on one hand. If they are giving permits for founder animals that were illegal in nature, then they are supporting the illegal animal trade. On the other hand, they are supporting the trade by allowing the prices to stay high which entices additional animal smuggling.
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