Dozens of species are now at risk but a conference this week will showcase new technology that could help stop the illegal trade
The two young women who arrived at Heathrow in February 2014 en route to Düsseldorf were carrying nondescript luggage. Customs officers were suspicious nevertheless and looked inside – to find 13 iguanas stuffed into socks inside the cases. Astonishingly, 12 of the highly endangered San Salvador rock iguanas had survived their transatlantic journey.
“There only about 600 of these animals left in the wild, in the Bahamas, and these animals were being taken to a private collector somewhere in Germany. Incredibly, we were able to return 12 of them, alive, to their homeland – on San Salvador island,” said Grant Miller, who was then working for the Border Force’s endangered species team.