Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Serious concerns over endangered iguana smuggling

DPM expresses concerns over iguana smuggling

Guardian Staff Reporter

Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis yesterday expressed concern that 13 rock iguanas were stolen from San Salvador and smuggled into the United Kingdom.

“I am anxious, as are all concerned citizens, that this criminal act is fully investigated and that all parties involved in this despicable attack on our natural heritage are dealt with by the law in all relevant jurisdictions,” said Davis, the Member of Parliament for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.

“We must all play our part in protecting our natural heritage.”

According to the BBC News, a customs team at London’s Heathrow Airport seized 13 iguanas on February 4.

The report said the iguanas, which were stuffed into socks, were found in a suitcase after officers stopped two Romanian women who had arrived from The Bahamas.

Twelve of the endangered lizards survived the voyage, according to the report.

Davis expressed concern that the women may have had assistance from residents on San Salvador as well as New Providence before boarding the flight to London.

“This story is troubling in many ways,” said Davis in a statement.

“These animals are an endangered species, living in isolation from regular human contact. They run away from intruders. To secure 13 animals and to remove them from San Salvador in secrecy would seem to be a daunting task.

“Further, the atrocious act was compounded by taking endangered animals out of the country into a foreign country by two women, with the explanation, apparently, being offered by them to British officials that they were in the process of delivering them to a third party in Germany.”

Davis said he has been in contact with Bahamian security organizations to ensure that The Bahamas is “intimately involved in finding a resolution to this theft and, hopefully, to arrange the safe return of the still living iguanas to their habitat in San Salvador”.

February 11, 2014