Komodo dragons, rare crocodiles among animals in seized luggage

Posted Mar 13, 2012 by Todd Catlin
Bulgarian customs officials in Sofia announced on March 12, 2012 that they had seized several suitcases of live exotic rare animals. The alleged trafficker, a Bulgarian citizen, was traveling via bus from the Czech Republic when his luggage was seized.
Komodo Dragon
Komodo Dragon
The animals seized, among them six komodo dragons, four Caiman crocodiles, 49 turtles and 15 chameleons were packed in luggage and boxes, and were stowed in the bus luggage storage compartment as well as in overhead storage compartments inside the bus seating area. In total, 127 live animals were seized.
Customs officials in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital city speculated that the animals were likely to be sold in the Bulgarian territory to private collectors of exotic, rare animals. Bulgaria has seen an increase in similar illicit transport and sale of endangered species as Bulgarian border searches via bus and car are not nearly as aggressive as in other European Union (EU) countries.
Bulgaria, a member of the European Union since 2007, is located on the Black Sea and is bordered by Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. The bus trip from the Czech Republic was nearly 1,500 kilometers and remarkably every animal survived the journey. Equally remarkable is that no fellow travelers were hurt by any of the animals.
The animals inside the seized luggage were taken to the Sofia zoo for evaluation and treatment. No information on the alleged smuggler has been released.