Crime & Justice

Colombia seizes 140 tarantulas being smuggled to Mexico

Bogota, Mar 31 (EFE).- Colombian authorities thwarted an illegal attempt to smuggle scores of tarantulas from this capital to Mexico, Bogota’s Environment Secretariat said Thursday.

That agency said it worked with the National Police to recover “more than 140 tarantulas that were to be sent from El Dorado International Airport to a Central American country” and eventually to Mexico.

Those large spiders were confiscated after a delivery company reported the discovery of “strange objects” during screening procedures at the airport’s cargo terminal.

“When the professionals from the Environment Secretariat and members of the (National Police’s) Environmental and Ecological Unit arrived at the place to inspect the cargo, they determined that 143 tarantulas of the infraorder mygalomorphae were camouflaged inside a chess set,” the statement said.

Twelve of the 143 spiders had died due to having been transported improperly in plastic bags and not having received adequate ventilation.

“The shipment, whose final destination was Mexico City, lacked the respective environmental permits and licenses (necessary for) the use, transport or sale of (that wildlife),” the statement added.

“Environmental and police authorities have launched investigations to determine the sender and recipient and thereby begin the respective punitive processes.”

The confiscated animals were taken for medical, nutritional and biological care to Bogota’s Center for the Attention, Assessment and Rehabilitation of Wild Flora and Fauna.

Authorities are trying to determine from which facility the spiders were stolen before deciding whether to release or relocate them.

The Bogota environmental authority recalled a similar attempt last December by a pair of German citizens to smuggle wildlife out of the country via the El Dorado International Airport.

In that case, authorities seized 232 spiders, nine spider eggs, a scorpion with seven of its young and 67 cockroaches that were being transported in 210 plastic containers amid rolls of photographic film. EFE


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