Birds and bird eggs are the most likely type of species to be smuggled. However, it’s not necessarily every day when you see someone get pulled aside with bird eggs in their trousers but , that’s exactly what happened at Heathrow Airport, in London on June 29th.
“Border officials seized the 19 eggs that were packed into a body belt worn by a 56-year-old Irish man travelling from South Africa,” the Huffpost reported. “Two of the eggs were ‘newly hatched’, revealing fuzzy, white vulture chicks,” described LiveScience.
These vulture chicks, 19 eggs in total, aren’t quite the type of animal species sold on the black market. “The United Kingdom’s Home Office-the government agency responsible for immigration security-identified the remaining eggs as those of other South African raptor species such as eagles, hawks, and kites,” reported LiveScience.
One might imagine what had to happen to get the birds in to the hands of the horrible 56-year-old man. “The birds are sold in pet markets in Thailand and places in the Middle East,” reported Raptor Aid.
It is illegal to have vultures as pets, because they are internationally protected as a subject to prey. They aren’t the ideal pet either. The reason why one might smuggle these poor birds is for financial rewards.
According to LiveScience, if the trade continued, the man would have made more than 6 billion dollars.
Thankfully, the Irish 56-year-old man was arrested and an investigation is taking place. While, the 19 baby vultures are in the safe hands of specialists, “with a bright future ahead,” responded LiveScience.