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article imageMan busted for smuggling eggs of rare bird species in underwear

By Anne Sewell     Oct 18, 2013 in Odd News
Customs authorities in Zurich, Switzerland seized a man, apparently a bird specialist, who was smuggling the eggs of protected parrots in his underwear, whilst traveling the world and trading them.
It turns out that the Swiss citizen, who was also a legal bird trader, was actually busted at Zurich airport back in 2010 for carrying 25 eggs cozily tucked away in his underwear, when he returned from a trip to São Paulo, Brazil.
According to the customs service, they are only able to reveal details of this case now, due to the secrecy surrounding the investigation.
Federal customs issued a statement on Thursday, saying that the unidentified man was thought to have trafficked over 150 endangered species parrot and rare pheasant eggs, protected under international law.
Investigators used an international network of contacts to establish that the man had smuggled more than 150 eggs to buyers in Mexico, Indonesia and Thailand.
According to ABC, Michael Parr, vice president of the American Bird Conservancy, said:
"One hundred fifty eggs - that's quite a serious case."
"It could significantly impact the global populations of certain endangered species, depending upon the birds involved."
Commenting on the fact that the man had smuggled 25 eggs in his underwear, Parr said:
"Macaw eggs are fairly large, golf-ball size."
"But some of the parakeets have quite small eggs, the size of a thimble."
However, when the man arrived from Brazil, he apparently caught the attention of customs officials with his "awkward gait."
Beat Eugster of the Zurich customs office told Bloomberg by telephone:
“He was wearing very wide trousers, and because he was walking so strangely the agents decided to stop him.”
“The agents thought he might have been carrying drugs.”
Eugster added that the man was released shortly after his arrest in August 2010 and was placed under covert surveillance.
The customs service quote the total value of the contraband eggs at 65,000 francs ($71,000), adding that it had not been possible to establish exactly where they originally came from.
According to authorities, the man also had an aviary containing several hundred birds, including endangered species. Swiss veterinary services seized seven rare parrots from an accomplice to the man, estimated to have a value of some 8,000 Swiss francs ($8,867).
Both the man and his accomplice now face heavy fines for trafficking in endangered species.
More about Switzerland, Zurich, Airport, Smuggling, parrot eggs
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