On 15 January, Hugo C., a Belgian citizen aged 54 bound for Madrid, Spain was arrested at Lima’s international airport in Peru. He got caught carrying 20 live birds – all protected species – hidden in his suitcase, which he intended to sell in Spain, the National Forest and Wildlife Service (Serfor) reported on Wednesday.
While all birds survived the “transport”, some of them showed signs of dehydration and stress. Others lost part of their plumage. Hugo C. could face up to five years of imprisonment for smuggling protected wildlife.
The avifauna of Peru has 1810 confirmed species, a known worldwide attraction to bird watchers and collectors. But illegal trafficking continues to threaten native species.