Israel trip cut short for rare lizards found smuggled in socks from Holland

Airport authorities set to return reptiles, which can be sold for up to NIS 2,000, to their country of origin.

April 14, 2015 16:41
 Rare lizards

Rare lizards confiscated at Ben-Gurion Airport. (photo credit: ADI KRINGEL)

Two rare lizards will have a short stay in Israel after officials at Ben-Gurion Airport uncovered the reptiles in luggage from a flight from Holland in an apparent smuggling attempt on Monday night.

Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development were informed that a resident of northern Israel in his 20s was traveling on the flight from the Netherlands with the lizards.

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During searches, inspectors found two Argentinian tegu lizards stashed inside socks located in the traveler's suitcase. The man was not in possession of any health certificates or licenses that permitted transport of the reptiles into Israel, thus posing a risk to public health and the environment, the ministry said in a statement.
Rare lizards confiscated at Ben-Gurion Airport

The ministry added that the lizards will be returned to their country of origin. According to the agriculture ministry, this species - which can grow up to two meters in length - can fetch a price of up to NIS 2,000 each.

Airport authorities have thwarted multiple attempts of illegally smuggling animals into Israel in recent years, including poisonous frogs and parrots.

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