JOHANNESBURG - About one-thousand reptiles and amphibians, rescued at OR Tambo International Airport two weeks ago, have died.
The animals were part of a large consignment from Madagascar, destined for the US. Some of the animals had died in transit.
When airport staff made the find, some of the carcasses were already rotting.
Meanwhile, vets at Johannesburg zoo are fighting to save the surviving animals.
“A lot of the animals have pulled through and are starting to exhibit signs of normal behaviour and we are trying to give them natural enclosure as possible as we can but off course it’s not easy," said Dr. Brett Gardner of the Johannesburg Zoo.
Animal rights activists said that the exotic pet trade is booming.
“They are moving out of the ports of South African and other African countries quite regularly.
"Two weeks after this shipment was found another shipment of reptiles from Mozambique was on route to the US was detained at OR Tambo for having no proper papers and that shipment was sent back to Mozambique," Gardner said.
A decision is yet to be made on what happen to the surviving reptiles.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said it was investigating possible charges against a South African company.
NSPCA believes the company acted as a middleman in the exotic pet trade. Video.