Colombian authorities thwart an attempt to smuggle tarantulas, cockroaches and a scorpion out of the country

The Washington Post

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One of more than 230 tarantulas seized at the El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia, on Dec. 2. (District Secretary for the Environment of Bogota/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Yesterday at 11: 57 a.m. EST

Yesterday at 11: 57 a.m. EST

Colombian authorities seized more than 230 tarantula spiders, dozens of cockroaches and a scorpion that were going to be illegally taken out of the country, according to the environment secretary for the capital, Bogota.

Authorities said the animals were carried by two foreigners traveling to Germany through El Dorado airport, according to the Colombian newspaper El Espectador. Two people claimed they took the animals for educational purposes.

Port police found 232 spiders, a scorpion with seven babies, nine spider eggs and 67 cockroaches tucked into plastic containers. Authorities stated that the two foreigners were not allowed to transport the animals with them.

The district environment secretary for Bogota, Carolina Urrutia, said that even if the animals are transported for academic or research purposes, environmental authorities must give explicit permission.

“We haven’t had a shipment of tarantulas this size since 2018; the largest we have had this year was shark fins,” Urrutia said in a statement. “The airport continues to be a focus of attention for wildlife trafficking in Bogota.”

Authorities said they will decide whether the creatures will be freed or relocated after examining them, while the two people will be brought to justice and could face a fine.

Close to 3,500 shark fins and 258 pounds of fish swim bladders that were going to be taken to Hong Kong were seized in September at the airport, one of the biggest seizures of recent years. Wildlife traffickers are often looking for countries rich in biodiversity like Colombia.

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