Hundreds of wild insects, spiders seized in Colombia as part of bug smuggling scheme

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Colombian authorities seized hundreds of wild spiders and insects that a German couple intended to smuggle to Europe, officials reported on Thursday.

The couple was apprehended at the airport in the capital city of Bogata. They were found with 210 plastic containers carrying at least 67 roaches, 232 tarantula spiders, nine spider eggs and a scorpion with seven of its young, according to Reuters.

The would-be smugglers were allegedly bringing the insects and spiders to Germany for academic reasons, but did not have the necessary permits to do so.

The illegal wildlife trade is a significant industry in Colombia, which is home to about 10 percent of all known living species and is one of the world's most biodiverse countries, according to the international journalism organization InSight Crime.

Colombian authorities said they have recovered more than 11,000 specimens from smugglers so far this year, including over 3,000 shark fins in September, per Reuters. Between 2008 and 2013, authorities seized endangered species worth roughly $29 million, according to InSight Crime.

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