Man Caught Smuggling Lizards in Underwear is Sentenced
A few weeks back, we told you about a man who was caught at a New Zealand airport trying to smuggle rare lizards out of the country--in his underwear. Well, it seems that the courts will be making an example out of Hans Kurt Kubus, who hails from Germany, for attempting to sneak out of the country with not one, not two...but 44 endangered lizards stuffed in his skivvies. In case you missed it, the story went something like this: a man attempted to board a plane in New Zealand bound for Europe when airport authorities became suspicious of his behavior. They decided to check his luggage and his person, soon discovering he was carrying the protected reptiles in sewn-in compartments in his underwear.
The 44 geckos and skinks, Kubus said in court, were for his "personal collection," according to a report from the BBC Brasil. Still, authorities say the lizards could fetch a whopping $66,000 on the black-market in Europe. Kubus plead guilty to two charges of violating the Wildlife Act and five under the Trade in Endangered Species Act.
While customs inspector Mark Day is undoubtedly pleased with the conviction, he hopes his country will continue to protect its endangered natural diversity:
This reminds us that there will be people who will try to take advantage of that.
According to the Department of Conservation, this is the biggest case of animal smuggling prosecuted in New Zealand in the last ten years.
Kubus will serve three and half months in prison, have to pay a $6,400 fine, and be deported back to his home country upon his release.