At the beginning of Aril customs authorities at Montpellier discovered 100 Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix Lutea) in the boot of a car inspection on the motorway.
This is a species protected by the Washington Convention, whose sale, transport and possession is strictly controlled. The two men taken in for questioning did not have the necessary documents to prove that they were transporting these birds legally.
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Unfortunately, the seizure of live animals in France is not a rare occurrence: in 2013, customs officials seized 1450 live animals (the highest number since 2003) whilst in 2012 this number already reached 1109 live animals. IFAW of course congratulates the work of the customs authorities, but these seizures do show a worrying tendency.
It will be interesting to see what penalties will be given out for this offence; this is all the more interesting given that the French Action Plan, presented by the President of the Republic to fight against poaching and the trafficking of protected species envisaged an increase of penalties of up to ten fold.
Article source: IFAW