Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Smugglers arrested for illegal trade of butterflies, chameleons and tortoises

My last post was about an unusual discovery, worth more then gold. We often get caught up in classic representations of monetary value and forget what people will pay for rarities of the natural world. Recently, two recent smugglers were busted for their unique consignments:

At the Zagreb airport, recently, Croatian customs officials stopped a man who was trying to smuggle 175 chameleons and 10 tortoises from Thailand. The man arrived in the Croatian capital by plane from Budapest, Hungary, carrying the reptiles in his suitcases. Animal protection officials said the reptiles are protected species.

The suspect claims to have purchased the animals at a Bangkok market for about $150 USD, but officials estimated the animals were worth about $200,000 USD. Customs officers have charged the man with violating import laws, the Croatian news agency HINA said.

In another incident, Serbian authorities intercepted a package containing 98 rare butterflies originating from the Solomon Islands and being shipped to Belgrade.

The butterflies are an endangered species protected under international convention and are estimated to be worth more than $10,000 USD on the black market. The person who was to receive the package will be charged with smuggling.

No comments: