Peruvian Authorities Intercept Approximately 160 Exotic Animals at Lima Airport


In a recent bust at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru, authorities seized approximately 160 exotic animals, including snakes, spiders, and turtles, from the luggage of a passenger traveling from Miami to an unspecified Asian country.

The Peruvian National Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) reported that the animals were discovered in appalling conditions, crammed inside medicine bottles, plastic tool and bolt boxes, and even wrapped in cotton within straws.

The animals, found in two suitcases, both in the hold and carry-on luggage, belonged to a Peruvian-American passenger who was suspected of attempting to illegally enter and later traffic the animals in Asia.

The animals, which included tarantulas from Africa, Panama, and Brazil, 29 corn snakes hidden in a container of infant formula, and 14 Cranwell’s frogs, were subjected to harsh conditions during their journey.

What is particularly concerning is the discovery of at least 15 specimens of internationally protected species, such as the savannah monitor, Jackson’s chameleon, and the map turtle. Sadly, due to the poor conditions of transport and lack of food, four of the animals were found dead upon inspection.

The illegal wildlife trade is a highly lucrative global enterprise, with estimates suggesting a market value in the tens of billions of dollars annually. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), illegal wildlife trafficking is ranked among the largest and most profitable transnational organized crime activities worldwide, alongside drug trafficking, human trafficking, and arms trafficking.

The animals seized in Lima were transferred to two specialized centers in the city, where they are currently under quarantine and receiving specialized care.

This intervention aims not only to protect the animals but also to address the broader issue of wildlife trafficking, which poses a significant threat to biodiversity.

It is crucial for international collaboration to combat such illicit activities, as the trafficking of exotic animals not only harms the species involved but also disrupts ecosystems and contributes to the loss of biodiversity.

Peruvian authorities, including SERFOR and officers from the Technical Forestry and Wildlife Administration (ATFFS) of Lima, are working diligently to address this case, emphasizing the importance of enforcing measures against the illegal wildlife trade.

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This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 4 December 2023. Image Credit :sirtravelalot/Shutterstock.





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