On Monday 3 February 2014, days after hundreds of reptiles and amphibians from Madagascar were found dead at South Africa’s Johannesburg airport, UK Customs seized 13 incredibly rare San Salvador Rock Iguana’s.
Two Romanian women, aged 24 and 26, travelling from the Bahamas to Germany were caught trying to smuggle them in socks hidden in their luggage. One animal was dead, the other 12 were dehydrated and are now under specialist care. The women have been arrested.
This species of rock iguana’s is native to the Bahamas and is considered incredibly rare. Only a few hundred survive in the wild.
UPDATE: On 3 April 2014 the two women were sentenced to 12 months in prison each. See: Daily Mail UK: Smugglers who tried to sneak 13 rare iguanas worth £260,000 in to Britain stuffed in socks are jailed for a year
Photos: One of the 13 endangered iguanas seized by Border Force officers at Heathrow. Photograph: UK Border Force/PA