An attempt to illegally export marine iguanas, an emblematic species of the Galapagos, has been stopped by the Ecuadorian Environmental Police's dog unit.
The police were conducting routine inspections of cargo and luggage when Willy, one of the police dogs, found a cardboard box containing two iguanas. Despite being kept in poor conditions, fortunately both are still alive. However, the body of a baby sea turtle was also found in the box.
After the police inspection, the marine iguanas were delivered to the authorities of the Galapagos National Park.
Box was abandoned
According to the police report, witnesses only provided a general description of the suspected owner of the box. Since the box had been abandoned, the police were unable to locate the suspect, but they are now trying to trace him.
This operation came a day after another important finding of six shark fins stored in the ceiling of a house in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Sharks are also protected species in Galapagos. The shark fins were found as the result of an inspection conducted by another dog unit. This case is also currently under investigation to determine judicial responsibilities.
The dog or K-9 unit of the Ecuadorian Environmental Police is supported by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. It is a pioneer unit in Ecuador, and in the region. In the past few years since its inception, the K-9 unit has proven to be instrumental in the fight against wildlife crimes in Galapagos.
The dogs are trained to detect wildlife, including shark fins and sea cucumbers, and to prevent their illegal exportation. The unit operates the three inhabited islands of Galapagos under the command of specialized police officers.