Two Romanian women have been sentenced to one year in prison for smuggling 13 critically endangered iguanas from The Bahamas into London Heathrow Airport.
The women, Angela-Alina Bita, 26, and Vitora-Oliva Bucsa, 24 were found with the iguanas by UK Border Force officers on February 3rd at Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
Both pleaded guilty to illegal importation at Isleworth Court in the UK on Thursday 3 April 2014.
The iguanas were found in individual socks wrapped in a towel, one died in transit.
The San Salvador rock iguanas are a rare species which comes under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Bita and Bucsa will serve 6 months out of their sentence in prison and 6 months on probation.
The UK Authorities have been clamping down on the illegal smuggling of exotic animals and hope to have stiffer penalties to thwart this activity in the future.
“On behalf of the Government of The Bahamas, we are thankful for the great efforts and attention provided by the UK Authorities in handling this matter and we will continue to work with UK Officials as we proceed towards the iguanas’ repatriation” said His Excellency, Eldred Bethel, High Commissioner.
Photo credit: UK Border Force
Source: Bahamas High Commission, London