Man stopped in attempt to smuggle 74 chameleons past customs

The 56-year-old man attempted to move the creatures through customs control in Vienna in socks and empty ice cream boxes.

Man stopped in attempt to smuggle 74 chameleons past customs

Austrian authorities have stopped a man at Vienna airport as he tried to smuggle 74 protected chameleons from Africa into the country.

Officials said that a 56-year-old man, who was not identified, had hidden the animals in socks and empty ice cream boxes when he was caught at customs control in Vienna.

He had travelled to Austria from Tanzania via Ethiopia.

Customs at the Vienna airport stopped the smuggling and brought the animals to the zoo
Customs at the Vienna airport stopped the smuggling and brought the animals to the zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn/Anton Weissenbacher via AP)

The chameleons were taken to the Austrian capital’s Schonbrunn Zoo, which said that three of the animals did not survive.

All the reptiles were from the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania and ranged in age from one week old to adult animals.

On the black market they would sell for for about 37,000 euro (£33,000), officials said.

The man who smuggled the animals into Austria will now have to pay a fine of up to 6,000 euro (£4,400), ministers said.

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