COSTA RICA — Authorities at the San José international airport detained a German man who was trying to leave the country with 170 tropical frogs, snakes and lizards hidden in his luggage.
The 31-year-old man, identified only by his surname, Maciej, was detained as he prepared to board a flight to Panama, according to the ministerio de Seguridad Publica (MSP).
Costa Rica’s wildlife protection law provides for prison sentences from 10 to 40 times a base monthly salary, or one to three years in prison for trafficking in animals.
Costa Rica is famous for its rich biodiversity, a major draw for the country’s key tourism sector.
The government is fighting to curb the illegal capture of wild animals to be kept as pets or sold overseas.
Environmental groups estimate the worldwide traffic in exotic animals is a $20-billion-a-year industry.