German gets jail time for Galapagos iguana smuggling
QUITO (AFP) - An Ecuadoran court has sentenced a German tourist to four years in prison for trying to smuggle threatened iguanas out of the Galapagos Islands.
Dirk Bender "will serve four years in prison as stated in the judgment reported today by the president and judges" of the criminal court that found him guilty on Jan 5 of having altered the local ecosystem of the archipelago, the Galapagos National Park said in a statement Monday.
Bender was arrested at the airport on Baltra Island on July 8 after park officials noticed him carrying a suspicious package, which was found to contain four lizards wrapped in canvas.
The hidden reptiles were Galapagos land iguanas (conolophus subcristatus), which the International Union for Conservation of Nature ranks as "vulnerable" on its Red List of Threatened Species.