Colombia police seize hundreds of tarantula spiders being smuggled to Europe

·1 min read
Tarantulas are native to the US, Mexico and South America among other places (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Tarantulas are native to the US, Mexico and South America among other places (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Over 200 tarantulas being smuggled to Europe via Bogota airport have been seized by Columbian police in the largest shipment of the species since 2018, according to authorities.

Two German citizens were detained at the airport in the Colombian capital after being discovered to have 210 plastic containers in their possession holding 232 tarantulas, nine spider eggs and eight scorpions and 67 roaches.

The pair claimed their Europe-bound cargo for academic purposes. Authorities hit back at the excuse, saying they did not have permits to remove the insects from Colombia.

Bogota’s environment secretary, Carolina Urrutia, said: “We haven’t had a shipment of tarantulas this size since 2018 (and) the largest we have had this year was shark fins.”

It comes after a shipment of 3, 493 shark fins en route to Hong Kong were confiscated in the country in September. The number of fins amounts to between 900 and 1,000 sharks.

According to officials, over 11,000 specimens have been seized over the course of this year.

Colombia is a country which boasts a rich diversity of wildlife as the home to tens-of-thousands of different species. As a result, it is often a site for traffickers.

The animals are currently under examination who are working to determine whether they are to be freed or relocated.

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