The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Russian Customs Catch Woman Trying to Smuggle 108 Exotic Animals in Suitcase

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Russian Customs Catch Woman Trying to Smuggle 108 Exotic Animals in Suitcase

Customs officials have seized what is being described as a 'zoo in a suitcase' from a woman accused of smuggling 108 exotic animals in Russia.

In the bag, carried in the hold of the aircraft, there were 55 snakes, 35 lizards, seven turtles, six lemurs, two monkeys and even a suspected leopard cub.

Two baby crocodiles died on the journey from Jakarta to Moscow and all the survivors appeared terrified when they were found after the 6,515-mile ordeal.

The menagerie came to light when customs officials at Domodedovo airport electronically scanned a 27kg bag belonging to an unnamed female passenger who had flown from Indonesia via Qatar.

Spokeswoman Larisa Ledovskikh said: 'The animals were packed in tiny cages and plastic boxes and each snake was in small bag made of cloth.'

Experts are trying to identify the 'amazingly beautiful "kitten" with bright green eyes and stripes' among the trafficked animals.

Officials in Moscow suspect it is a leopard cub, a species which is listed in the Red Book of endangered animals.

If true, the woman, held in detention pending a decision on any charges faces up to seven years in jail.

“It was a sad scene, exhausted monkeys, scared lemurs, the begging green eyes of a beautiful cat", said, Moskovsky Komsomolets.

The animal courier claimed she had bought the animals for $200 (£130) in a market in Indonesia.

She denied intending to sell the animals on the black market, claiming they were 'for future breeding'.

But trading in exotic animals is seen as lucrative business in Russia, where private zoos are seen as de rigueur for the wealthy.

After being impounded, the hungry and exhausted creatures were handed to employees of Moscow's 'Exotic Park' where they will be cared for until their future is decided.

A handler from the park held the animals for the customs pictures, which will be used as evidence in the case against the 'animal courier'.

“Experts will check the animals and calculate the price of each one. They will also establish if any of these animals are under protection of the international convention on rare species.” said an employee from the Exotic Park.


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