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Foxes, chameleons seized at Egypt airport

June 17, 2010 |  4:05 pm

Chameleon

CAIRO — Security at Cairo's international airport on Wednesday stopped an Egyptian man who was trying to smuggle eight live foxes and 50 chameleons in a huge suitcase out of the country.

Police stopped the 36-year-old traveler and asked him to open his suspiciously large suitcase, revealing the squirming mass of animals confined in small plastic cages.

Brig. Gen. Mustafa Salah of airport security said they confiscated the animals and will turn them over to the Cairo zoo.

According to Salah, the man said he planned to sell the animals in Thailand, use the money to buy cellphone parts and a computer that he would resell upon returning to Egypt.

Transporting live reptiles out of the country is illegal in Egypt.

Though he was released by police, the man elected to stay in Egypt, saying he did not want to be separated from his animals.

Airport officials often confiscate live animals being smuggled out of Cairo, often for destinations in the gulf region.

In 2007, police stopped a man carrying a large numbers of reptiles, including baby crocodiles, chameleons and a cobra, he said were for use at a Saudi university.

In another case that year, a Saudi man was discovered with 700 snakes in his carry-on luggage. He told authorities they were popular as pets in his country.

RELATED ANIMAL-SMUGGLING NEWS:
Smuggled tortoises, cannabis seized by customs officials in Malaysian airport
Orange County men sentenced for roles in bizarre songbird smuggling case

-- Associated Press

Photo: A chameleon (not one of the ones seized in Egypt) climbs on a branch. Credit: Juda Ngwenya / Reuters

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