Customs officials at Ben-Gurion Airport caught a man allegedly attempting to
smuggle about 30 poisonous frogs into the country on Thursday morning, the
Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) and Tax Authority
After receiving information about a passenger attempting to
smuggle in marine life, inspectors from the airport’s customs zone caught the
first suspect on his return to Israel from an Amsterdam flight, the authorities
said. A quick look at his flight itinerary, however, revealed that two other
passengers had flown with him, and the inspectors immediately identified both
the suspect and one of his companions, according to the authorities.
thorough search of their possessions revealed a number of boxes containing about
30 poisonous frogs, intended for sale to Israeli collectors at between 50 and
120 euros apiece, the officials said.
Following an INPA investigation,
officials determined that these were a type of poisonous dart frog that was not
native to the country.
The proliferation of such frogs here could cause
great ecological damage if they were to reach the country’s water basins, and
create great biological imbalance among dozens of aquatic animals, including
protected species, the INPA noted.
“There is a real danger to Israeli
amphibians as a result of the entry into Israel of exotic species, and
therefore, the INPA does not endorse the import of amphibians into Israel,” a
statement from the authority said.
All of the frogs were captured and
transferred for further INPA treatment, and the two identified suspects are
The INPA and Tax Authority stressed the importance
of two government bodies working seamlessly together to decisively address an
illegal trade in animals. The INPA reported the offense to Interpol, which has
an international working group operating to prevent such trade.