By Jaime Lopez
Alert police officers assigned to a foot patrol around the Cathedral District in the Downtown area of the capital city noticed something strange about a man carrying three burlap sacks. After observing what seemed like movement of the contents in the bags, the Fuerza Publica members approached the man and asked to search the sacks.
The bags were filled with ten iguanas: nine were alive, but one had already perished. The Fuerza Publica members immediately rescued the reptiles and apprehended the 42-year old man. He was charged with trafficking in wild species. The National Service of Animal Safety (SENASA) was dispatched to the scene to pick up the iguanas, assess their health, and look into possible reintegration to their natural habitats.
The alleged animal trafficker will now have to appear before the First Judicial District Court of San Jose, where he will answer to the charges as provided by the Wildlife Law of Costa Rica.
The officers were looking out for the safety of pedestrians and bus passengers traveling to and from Perez Zeledon at the time of the incident. The bus terminal is located near the Carit neighborhood, and the arrest was made around noon time.
Trafficking in iguanas is not isolated to men carrying sacks full of them in downtown San Jose. In 2010, a man traveling to Canada attempted to board a flight at the Juan Santamaria International Airport when a terminal agent noticed that the passenger’s carry-on luggage moving around. Upon inspection, five adult iguanas jumped out.
Source: Ministerio de Seguridad Publica