Hundreds of Dead Animals Found at South Africa Airport

Animal-rights group says shipping containers were headed for U.S.' exotic pet trade

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Miona Janeke, HO, NSPCA / AP

This photo released by National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (NSPCA), shows dead reptiles and amphibians on top of a metal table at the Johannesburg Zoo, South Africa, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014.

Hundreds of endangered animals were found dead in crates at a South African airport, animal inspectors said on Friday, after not receiving food or water for several days.

South Africa’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was called to O.R. Tambo International Airport after an inspector noticed a “bad smell” during a typical cargo search on Jan. 29 at the Johannesburg’s main airport. Taking a closer look, inspectors opened two crates to find more than 1,600 reptiles and amphibians—including many endangered species of chameleons, lizards, geckos, toads and frogs—but not all of them were alive.

About one-fourth of the animals had died by the time they were discovered. “Many animals could not move or turn around in their containers. None had been provided with water which caused extreme dehydration in the surviving animals,” the NSPCA said in a statement.

The group believes they were traveling from Madagascar and destined for the United States’ exotic pet market. The surviving animals were taken to the Johannesburg Zoo, where they are receiving care.

“A substantial number have stabilized, eating and drinking. There are about over 1,200 that have survived—others with irreparable damage,” Brett Gardener, the zoo’s veterinarian, told the BBC. “The boxes arrived on Tuesday morning and were scheduled to connect on a flight that evening. The flight was delayed indefinitely due to bad weather and attempts to put them in another flight failed.”

The incident will be further investigated by the NSPCA and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

123 comments
Pook Navaratana
Pook Navaratana

Leave them alone in the wild!!! Would anyone want to be taken away from your home, then kept in a box/cage the rest of your life? Stop buying these animal. It's not 'cool' having one of these crawling in your home, it's plain cruelty.

ChristineHarpley
ChristineHarpley

The demand for exotic animals is so out of integrity it is seriously mind boggling. How is this to be understood...why don't these people get educated and use their lives for a positive cause. It is bored and completely unconscious people with Nothing better to do with their precious lives who create this market. How about some respect and care for all of Life on Earth.

Rachel Elizabeth Moore
Rachel Elizabeth Moore

This makes me so sad, but before we condemn the poachers, can we remember the demand for 'exotic pets' is driven by the wealthy in other nations, they are just as culpable and guilty.

Steve Finnerty
Steve Finnerty

id have no problem with capital punishment for this crime.

Matt Cuthill
Matt Cuthill

Oh and find the pricks who buy these animals and castrate them!

Jessica Callihan
Jessica Callihan

So sad. Put those poachers in a little cage and let them die of dehydration and starvation.

Jean-Michel Gagné
Jean-Michel Gagné

The responsible for this should be let for dead in a container deprived of water so they can taste their medecine

Jorge Medeiros
Jorge Medeiros

Criminal. The responsibles deserves the same treatment.

Carolyn Dennis
Carolyn Dennis

This makes me so mad please arrest those involved

Tatiana Alfonso
Tatiana Alfonso

I am infuriated by this story. These are innocent creatures, humans really need to realize how much harm they are causing.

Mogu Saurus
Mogu Saurus

Tragic. By not buying exotics, we can stop this.

David Wilson
David Wilson

Ach ja , het houd niet op . Als je je zou kunnen bedenken dat er in geite al zoveel van deze dieren daar zijn en dat daarvan gewoon ook jonger krijgt en kan verkopen die niet illegaal merr zijn .

Heidrun Lange
Heidrun Lange

Those ppl who put them in there should be treated same way they treat those animals!! Tiny container where they could not turn around in and no water for days!! Those as@€(@&!!!!!

Ali Reza
Ali Reza

With nuclear arm race we will soon join them

Cecil Collett
Cecil Collett

Please do an article here that exposes the ANC for what they really are. Criminals! Also, more whites have died post-Apartheid in gruesome farm murders than in 40 years of Apartheid. Get your journos on it. Sick of reading about your GOP, Syria and Kanye West. There is a whole world out there, America.

Belarmino Teixeira
Belarmino Teixeira

Everybody should think before they buy a exotic pet in the pet shop!

Debra Smith
Debra Smith

So unacceptable! How could something like this happen? How can humans be so unemotional, insensitive, and thoughtless!?

Sandra Urner-Clark
Sandra Urner-Clark

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Meow Li
Meow Li

stop selling and buying stupid human beings

Cassidy Volk
Cassidy Volk

Yeah North Americans love exotic animals, such as: big cats, bears, wolves, lizards. They love to exploit them and over breed them. Horrible people.

Rush Pathak
Rush Pathak

Definitely the opposite of 'like' this article.

Hana Yi
Hana Yi

a bunch of endangered species were planning on being sold to america's black market? i'm ashamed to be on the same continent with people who would buy such animals.

Jennifer Keramianakis
Jennifer Keramianakis

Sad! And chameleon numbers are dwindling as it is... Seems people won't stop until every living thing is dead!!!!

Celene Lopez
Celene Lopez

Vanessa Ramirez i wish i could save them all ): ugh