Man Caught Smuggling Exotic Animals Into Puerto Rico, 250 Animals Seized

Puerto Rico officials have more turtles than they know what to do with. In San Juan, a man was caught trying to smuggle a crate of exotic animals into the country. The Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA) believe that man intended to sell the prohibited animals in Puerto Rico.

The shipment was sent from Miami to the island of Puerto Rico.

Fox News Latino reports that DRNA Secretary Carmen Guerrero Perez release a statement concerning one crate’s contents, much of which is prohibited in Puerto Rico.

“The suspect had a crate shipped in from Miami that was found to contain a pink tarantula, a monitor lizard, 242 sea turtles, two emperor scorpions, a reticulate albino python and several red-eyed frogs, among other animals.”

The shipment arrived in Puerto Rico on Thursday and was seized by the DRNA. The suspect was apprehended and he admitted that the animals were his. The man, whose name has not been released, was charged a $13,000 fine.

Part of the shipment included a crate with animals allowed in Puerto Rico. These species includes a number of turtles, spiders, snakes, and chameleons.

Unfortunately, not all the animals survived the trip, with a number of them dying before reaching Puerto Rico. Animal smuggling has been a lucrative career for centuries, with people always yearning for something more exotic. However, rarely are the animals transported in the proper way, often ending in at least a few deaths.

Guerrero Perez warns Puerto Ricans against purchasing non-native animals as pets.

“These species coming to the island represent a threat for our fauna and flora and some pose risks to humans. We urge the public not to promote this illicit business by introducing or buying exotic species.”

The introduction of non native animals species into new areas can have massive adverse effects on the natural economic state. In fact, Burmese pythons have began to overpopulate the Everglades since they were inadvertently released and/or escaped over a decade ago.

Some animals have no predators, like the pythons in Florida, and are able to grow in size and population. Eventually, the numbers grow so large that officials worry that the invasive species will overrun the native species of animals.

The pythons of Florida have reached incredible numbers, upwards of 150,000 throughout the Everglades. Puerto Rico officials wish to avoid a scenario like this on their island country.

This incident marks the third time Puerto Rican authorities have seized crates of exotics animals this month.

[Image via commons.wikipedia.org]