HORROR video captures the moment airport authorities opened a suitcase containing more than 140 tarantulas.
这 creepy crawlies were being illegally smuggled through customs, 但 12 died after being stuffed into plastic bags without proper ventilation.
They were due to be sold illegally in pet stores, according to Colombian news outlet La Vanguardia.
The Colombian environmental agency said it worked with police to recover “多于 140 tarantulas that were to be sent from El Dorado International Airport to a Central American country.
Officials received a tip-off after a delivery company reported discovering “strange objects” during screening procedures at the airport’s cargo terminal.
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“When the professionals from the Environment Secretariat and members of the (National Police’s) Environmental and Ecological Unit arrived at the place to inspect the cargo, they determined that 143 tarantulas of the infraorder mygalomorphae were camouflaged inside a chess set,” authorities said in a statement.
12 的 143 spiders died after being transported in plastic bags inside the chess set without proper ventilation.
“The shipment, whose final destination was Mexico City, lacked the respective environmental permits and licenses [necessary for] the use, transport or sale of that wildlife,” 声明补充说.
“Environmental and police authorities have launched investigations to determine the sender and recipient and thereby begin the respective punitive processes.”
The surviving spiders were taken for medical, nutritional, and biological care at Bogota’s Centre for the Assessment and Rehabilitation of Wild Flora and Fauna.
It isn’t yet known where the spiders were taken from, and authorities want to find out which facility they belong to before deciding whether to release them into the wild or relocate them.
Colombia is one of the diverse countries on earth, home to tens of thousands of species, which makes it incredibly attractive to illegal wildlife traffickers.
In November last year, authorities caught two German citizens trying to smuggle more than 300 creatures out of the country via El Dorado Airport.
一些 232 spiders, nine spider eggs, eight scorpions, 和 67 cockroaches were seized hidden in more than 200 plastic containers amid rolls of photographic film.
Colombian animal conservation law includes criminal penalties and hefty fines.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, tarantulas are illegally sold to meet demand in the pet trade, due to their tameness and colourful appearance.
While pet spiders might not be to everyone’s taste, one Brit is such a fan he lives with 120 tarantulas.
Arachnophile Aaron Phoenix, 34, has spent around £1,000 on buying 80 different species, some of which have a leg span as big as 10 英寸.
They all have their own enclosure in his spare room in 布里斯托尔 and he will tend to them every morning and night with food and water.
House removal contractor Aaron said: “They’re my passion and obsession. I find them fascinating.
“I could sit and watch them for hours. They’ve had an incredible effect on me and I’ll never give up owning tarantulas now.
“They all have their individual quirks. One of my first girls comes up to the top of the enclosure when I drop food in and does this little happy dance to say thank you.
“Another runs to the lid to greet you whenever you walk into the room – it’s beautiful to watch.
“People’s reactions are fantastic. They can’t believe it!”