Police seize rare iguanas in socks

Somerset County Gazette: One of 13 endangered iguanas that have been seized by Border Force officers at Heathrow (Border Force/PA) One of 13 endangered iguanas that have been seized by Border Force officers at Heathrow (Border Force/PA)

Thirteen "incredibly rare" iguanas that had been stuffed into socks by smugglers have been seized by a customs team at Heathrow Airport.

The endangered lizards were found in a suitcase yesterday at Terminal Five of the London airport when officers stopped two Romanian women who had arrived from the Bahamas.

They were due to take the San Salvador rock iguanas - which are native to the Bahamas and classed as being under threat of extinction - on to Dusseldorf in Germany.

Each one of the creatures was wrapped in a sock, and 12 survived the journey while one died.

Grant Miller, from the Border Force's endangered species team said: "This particular species of iguana is incredibly rare - only a few hundred are believed to be left in existence - so this was a remarkable and very important seizure.

"Given the circumstances we found them in it seems incredible that all but one survived such a long flight.

"The surviving animals were dehydrated and are now under the supervision of a specialist vet. We are also working with experts to find the best way to protect and safeguard these endangered creatures longer term."

The two women, aged 24 and 26, were arrested on suspicion of importation offences.

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