Within days of each other, the TSA reported two separate incidents involving wildlife trafficking in the U.S.
On Aug. 26, a woman heading to board a China-bound flight from the Los Angeles International Airport was arrested by Fish and Wildlife Service officers for smuggling two parrots. TSA patted her down and bound the birds wrapped in tube socks, tapped to her chest. She was charged with smuggling goods and for the exportation of an endangered species.
This woman’s attempt was just one day after a potential “Snakes on a Plane” incident at the Miami International Airport. A man traveling from Brazil attempted to board a flight with seven reptiles stuffed in his pants. The TSA caught him after they discovered suspicious items when he walked through an Advanced Imaging Technology screening machine.Seven exotic snakes and three tortoises were found wrapped in nylons, stuffed in his pants. Fish and Wildlife Service officers arrested him and he was charged with a felony of violating the Lacey Act, prohibiting unlawful transport of fish, wildlife and plants.
These trafficking incidents are nothing new for TSA agents, shocking – yes, but apparently people all over the world continue to smuggle wildlife in bizarre ways.
The global export of wild plants and animals is a business with an estimated value of more than $300 billion as of 2005, according to TRAFFIC, a global wildlife trade monitoring network. From 1995-1999, CITIES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, documented an annual average of internationally traded species at more than 1.5 million live birds, 640,000 live reptiles, 300,000 crocodilian skins, 1.6 million lizard skins, 1.1 million snake skins, 150,000 furs, almost 300 tonnes of caviar, more than 1 million coral pieces and 21,000 hunting trophies.
Although accurate information pertaining to illegal trafficking of exotic animals is nearly impossible to obtain, TRAFFIC estimates that figures are close to hundreds of millions of dollars – possibly billions.
In the meantime, TSA will just need to continuously employ ultra-sensitive security measures, screening for illegal substances, oversized aerosol cans and the occasional reptile.
Read More @ secprodonline.com