Metro.co.uk, February 4, 2014
by Paul McMillan
Smugglers stuffed 13 ‘incredibly rare’ iguanas into socks and tried to take them through Heathrow Airport.
The endangered lizards were found by customs officers in a suitcase at Terminal Five when they stopped two Romanian women who arrived from the Bahamas.
They were trying to take the San Salvador rock iguanas, which are native to the Bahamas and under threat of extinction, on to Dusseldorf in Germany.
Each was wrapped in a sock and 12 survived the journey, while one died.
Grant Miller, from the Border Force’s endangered species team said: ‘This particular species of iguana is incredibly rare – only a few hundred are believed to be left in existence – so this was a remarkable and very important seizure.
‘Given the circumstances we found them in it seems incredible that all but one survived such a long flight.
‘The surviving animals were dehydrated and are now under the supervision of a specialist vet. We are also working with experts to find the best way to protect and safeguard these endangered creatures longer term.’
Two women, aged 24 and 26, were arrested on suspicion of importation offences.