By Ian Thibodeau
ROYAL OAK, MI - The Detroit Zoo is again caring for rescued wildlife, this time taking in eight reptiles that were in September confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Detroit Zoo now houses four each of the Sahara spiny-tailed and the mastigure lizards species
The lizards were among 343 that officials intercepted when the lizards were being smuggled into the country from Mali, a country in West Africa, according to a release.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 200 of the lizards died within a few weeks of being seized due to the "inhumane methods used to ship the animals and the conditions they were held in prior to their arrival in the United States..."
The Detroit Zoological society said in a statement that the lizards are representations of a global wildlife trafficking crisis.
"Many individual animals die in situations like this, and the impacts on wild populations can be catastrophic," Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society chief life sciences officer, said in a release. "We are happy to be able to provide great care and permanent sanctuary for these lizards, and to help bring attention to this important wildlife issue."
The lizards arrived in Detroit in late November, and are still receiving daily care. The eight reptiles are also under observation in quarantine, which will last at least six months, according to a release.
When they're taken out of quarantine, the lizards will be in the Holden Reptile Conservation Center at The Detroit Zoo.
According to a release, the rescue is supported by the Kalter/Lezotte Fund for Wildlife Rescue.
The lizards are the second big rescue in just over a month. The Detroit Zoo rescued a 9-month-old grey seal pup in November.