Galapagos iguana thief sentenced

This video is called Galapagos – Land Iguanas.

From IANS news agency:

Ecuador sentences man caught with iguanas to four years

Quito, Feb 6 : A court handed down a four-year prison term to a German citizen caught trying to smuggle four iguanas out of the Galapagos islands, authorities at Ecuador’s Galapagos National Park said.

Dirk Bender, a 32-year-old lifeguard, was convicted last month after he violated the ban on removing plants or animals from the archipelago.

He was arrested in July 2012 as he prepared to board a commercial flight at the airport on Baltra island. The security scanner detected a suspicious item in one his bags, which on examination turned out to contain two iguanas.

The other two iguanas were found after a sniffer dog alerted guards to the presence of something unusual in another piece of Bender’s luggage.

The creatures belong to the species Conolophus subcristatus, listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “vulnerable”, one step short of endangered.

Bender admitted during his trial that he had been detained in Fiji in 2001 for attempting to smuggle iguanas, the park directors said.

He will serve his sentence at a prison in the mainland coastal city of Guayaquil.

The Galapagos Islands, which lie in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian mainland, served as a natural laboratory that inspired English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory about evolution, natural selection and the origin of species.

April 2014: Two women have been sentenced to a year in jail after 13 endangered iguanas were seized at Heathrow. Romanian nationals Angla-Alina Bita, 26, and Vitora-Oliva Bucsa, 24, had arrived on a flight from the Bahamas and were due to fly on to Dusseldorf, Germany when iguanas were discovered in their luggage. Each iguana had been individually wrapped in a sock before being stuffed into suitcases. Twelve survived their journey but one died in transit. The iguanas were identified as San Salvador rock iguanas, a species so rare that only a few hundred are known to be in existence. As such they are controlled under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): here.

Mar. 26, 2013 — Increasing tourism and the spread of marine invasive non-native species is threatening the unique plant and marine life around the Galapagos Islands: here.

11 thoughts on “Galapagos iguana thief sentenced

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