Cuban customs officials caught a smuggler red handed recently when a man tried to board a plane with sixty six birds stuffed into his trousers. The terrified exotic birds were rescued after officials noted strange bulges in the man’s crotch and legs.
He was seized while trying to board a flight to the United States. The man is reportedly still being questioned – and, according to police sources, he faces up to two years in prison. You are not going to believe this story.
The man was stopped as he tried to board a plane bound for the United States. Customs agents had noticed peculiar bulges in his pants and pulled him aside for questioning. After a few minutes he was ordered to submit to a strip search.
Custom agent Hermogenes Yonsiver says “He said: ‘What I have here is a pigeon that is a gift for my grandson’ but that too was a lie. He then wanted to continue on his way. But he was forced to take down his trousers, and we found all these frightened little finches and hummingbirds, some of whom had their beaks sealed shut so that we wouldn’t hear their singing.”
In all, cuban authorities rescued sixty six birds from the smuggler’s pants, although two more had passed away before he was caught.
If convicted of smuggling and other charges, the man may face up to two years in jail. It is believed that the street value of these exotic birds would be in the several of thousands of dollars in the US.
This story just reminded us of how dangerous introducing a new species into an unfamiliar ecosystem really can be.
From Burmese pythons to zebra mussels, from the red bellied pacu to kudzu, plants and animals that did not originally evolve into a specific ecosystem can wreak havoc upon it if introduced carelessly.
Unfortunately, releasing an animal into an ecosystem is usually a death sentence for the animal, as it may not be able to cope with the local climate, find the specialized food it needs, be exposed to diseases for which it has no immunities, or become food for a local predator species. That is a best case scenario, because if it does wind up adapting to its new home, then it does truly become an invasive species, crowding out the local flora and fauna that evolved to occupy the area over eons. These plants and animals fit together in a complex and beautiful puzzle of interdependent biodiversity, and an invasive species can disrupt and collapse an ecosystem very rapidly.
The exotic pet market is a billion dollar a year industry in our country, which drives smugglers to ever more cruel and diabolical schemes to bring the wild animals of the world to american pet collectors.
Exotic pets are not cool or neat. They can be dangerous, and in almost every instance, people who collect them find themselves wholly incapable of caring for them in the long term, making it an inhumane practice.
Have you ever assisted in an exotic pet rescue? Share your thoughts with us here.