Monday, 16 April 2007

Monkeys in your pants and other hilarious antics of wildlife smugglers

Last week I wrote about smugglers who were caught trying to sneak butterflies and chameleons into Croatia. Following that article, a reader sent me an article on some hilarious antics of other criminals who got caught in the act of smuggling strange cargo:

In the United States, wildlife smuggling is the nation’s second-largest black market, (behind narcotics), worth $9 billion a year.
Some of the more interesting highlights seen at Los Angeles International Airport include:

In 2006 A Japanese man was arrested for smuggling Queen Alexandra’s birdwings, one of the largest butterflies in the world, worth $8,500 USD. And in the same year four people were accused of trafficking in the endangered dragon fish.

In 2002 A Palm Springs man attempted to hide two Asian leopard cats in a backpack. He was busted when his travelling companion was also caught. Authorities noticed a large birds of paradise flying out of his luggage. Further inspection revealed 50 rare orchid bulbs, birds stuffed into women’s stockings and two lesser slow lorises (pygmy monkeys) stuffed in his underwear! The poor animals were saved form an 18 hour journey from Asia in this man’s pants!

And most recently, a man has been charged with smuggling reptiles from South Asia in his prosthetic leg.

Some people bring in rare and exotic species as pets but others realize it is big business. Unfortunately, once an animal is taken from the wild, it cannot usually be returned to its place of origin, for fear of disease, and so is often placed in a local zoo, where its chances of long-term survival are reduced.


Gufo said...

Monkeys, in his pants... While he was wearing them? Risky business :-D

As for being afraid of diseases for animals being returned to the wild, could you be more specific? I assume it's for the good of thos who still are in the wild, but... any example you can cite? Thanks in advance

Sarda Sahney said...

The laws and guidlelines that surround this issue are for the purpose of not introducing dieases into wild populations. It makes sense that if you import an animal to another continent for example, it may well be exposed to infections that it has no defenses for. These restrictions are also often applied to livestock: once an animal is removed from a farm, it is not allowed back.