A Belgian man has been arrested at the Lima Airport in Peru for trying to smuggle 20 live birds to Europe. According to a wildlife service officer, Hugo Coninigs was arrested by the Peruvian police on Monday for transporting 20 wildlife specimens that he intended to sell in Spain.
The 54-year-old was caught with his suitcase carrying the live birds. Among the 20 protected birds, there were two toucanets and 16 tanagers which are small brightly coloured birds. Some of the birds showed signs of dehydration and stress while others had lost part of their plumage due to hours of being trapped in the suitcase, the wildlife service said. According to media reports, the Madrid bound man could face up to five years in prison for illegal wildlife trafficking. All the rescued birds are native to the Peruvian jungle but also found in Ecuador and Bolivia. The South American nation is home to more than 1800 species of birds.
In a similar incident, a Chinese man was recently apprehended by authorities at the Colombo airport while he was trying to smuggle 200 live scorpions in plastic containers out of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka authorities assume that the man was smuggling the scorpions for their venom and would have extracted the venom after reaching China.
While the identity of the man has not been revealed, it is known that the man who was apprehended was Chinese and planned on taking the scorpions back to China. The smuggler was fined Rs 100,000 ($550) and then was allowed to fly back home. The scorpions were packed in plastic boxes. The plastic containers were concealed in his luggage and customs officers arrested him as he was trying to leave the country.