Several tonnes of illegal "bushmeat" from animals ranging from primates to crocodiles are being smuggled in luggage each week through one of Europe's busiest airports, researchers said today.
Animal experts worked with customs officials at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport to identify meat from species being carried into Europe from central and west Africa.
Over a period of 17 days, 134 passengers from 29 flights were searched and almost half were found to be carrying fish or meat from livestock or wild animals.
The researchers found 11 different "bushmeat" or meat from wild animal species including Nile crocodiles, red river hog, primates, porcupines and pangolins.
The probe found two-fifths (39%) of the wild species smuggled in were subject to trade regulations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).
Livestock including entire sheep and calves wrapped in plastic and placed in holdalls were also uncovered during the research.
The experts from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), the National Veterinary School and the Natural History Museum of Toulouse estimate some five tonnes of bushmeat pass through the airport in personal luggage each week.
Smuggling meat in luggage such as holdalls poses a major risk to human health and could spread disease, while the bushmeat trade also poses a threat to wildlife, they warned. More....