At the airport in the Peruvian capital Lima, a man was caught during a check who wanted to smuggle 20 living tropical birds into Europe in his suitcase. The Belgian, who wanted to fly to Madrid, was arrested on Monday, the country's wildlife agency said on Wednesday (local time).
In his suitcase, the man had 20 wild birds crammed into small boxes that were intended for sale in Spain. Among the brightly feathered birds were, among others, Arassaris (a genus from the toucan family, note) and magnificent tits.
According to the authorities, the animals showed signs of dehydration and stress, some had already lost part of the plumage after hours in the narrow boxes, the authority Servicio Forestal Nacional (SERFOR) reported. The bird smuggler now faces up to five years in prison.
Peru is considered a mecca for bird watching, more than 1800 different bird species live in the primeval forests of the South American country.