LAX Is A Hotbed For Animal Smuggling

Apparently due to wealthy Hollywood types’ yearning for exotic pets, Los Angeles International Airport — its friends call it LAX — has long been known as animal smuggling central. In the most recent high-profile incident, Japanese passengers were busted for sneaking 55 live tortoises and turtles in luggage.

AOL spoke to a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who says that kind of thing is common. Smugglers have been caught sneaking in Asian reptiles and monkeys, Australian geckos and Latin American parrots.

The agent said airports in New York, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco are also popular animal-smuggling destinations.

The agent said people will pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for forbidden animals, which themselves pay the ultimate price.

“Our intelligence tells us people who smuggle live birds from South America or Mexico count on a 50 percent fatality rate during travel. So they bring in twice as many as they want to sell,” the agent says.

Feds Find LAX Airport Can Be a Zoo — Literally [AOL]


Edit Your Comment

  1. TheGreySpectre says:

    Hundreds maybe thousands doesnt really seem like very much when you consider people pay hundreds or thousands for purebred dogs which are perfectly legal.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Whether purebred animals should be illegal or severely restricted is a separate argument. A purebred pomeranian is going to pose very little threat, while a non-native species that escapes will pose a significant threat if it can adapt to the ecosystem or if it introduces a disease that wipes out the native population.

    • MrEvil says:

      I’m not sure what you’re getting at. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pure-bred dogs. Though I would agree that bunches of homeless pets get euthanized in shelters because people opt to buy a pure bred dog rather than adopt from a shelter or rescue group. If I had a place big enough I’d be tempted to adopt as many as I could keep fed.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        “There’s nothing inherently wrong with pure-bred dogs.”

        …Except that breeding a dog with it’s own (parents / siblings / grandparents) is an accepted practice in dog breeding, in an attempt to produce an animal that meets the Kennel Club’s “breed decription” has led to all sorts of health problems:

        Mutts are better choices.

  2. FatLynn says:

    Airports with a lot of international flights tend to have lots of people illegally bringing things into the country? This is newsworthy!

  3. AngryK9 says:

    It is all fun and games until someone starts smuggling shaved gerbils…

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Here at Dell Stater’s Gerbil Emporium, we offer a great selection of fine pre-enjoyed gerbils and gerbil accessories.

  4. outis says:

    Snakes on a plane jokes in 3…

  5. cvt2010 says:

    Anyone else snicker at the fact that this news is from AOL? They’re still around???

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      I think the fact that it was on AOL news is the reason there are no “serious” comments here.

  6. FireJayPa says:

    When someone finds a way to bring me a few Penguins, I’ll listen. Until then have fun with your turtles

  7. RandomHookup says:

    I’m tired of all these illegal, foreign pets coming in to take away jobs from American-born breeds. Why can’t we seal the border?

  8. Bagels says:

    I breed my own exotic animals at home

  9. Thassodar says:

    I’m tired of these monkey fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane!!

  10. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Doesn’t National Geographic channel have a series all about this in the California area?

  11. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    And I thought fat people in the next seat with bratty kids on a 17 hour flight were my worst nightmare!

  12. CrankyOwl says:

    If someone smuggled in tiny giraffes like that in the DirecTV commercial, that would be ok with me. I’d buy one.

  13. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Seriously, might this be part of the problem with people’s pets going missing–they might have been stolen?

    • outis says:

      Or freakin’ eaten by something else in cargo.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      These are pets coming INTO the country. We’re not talking about dogs and cats, either. we’re talking about wild animals. These are people from foreign countries who smuggle in exotic creatures that have no business being pets in the US. Turtles from foreign countries can be a problem for turtles in this country because if released, (or if they escape) they can upset the balance of wildlife in the area.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        I understand that, but I’ve heard a lot of stolen-dog stories around here (have you? Katy, Sugar Land, and the region from up towards and through New Caney are the places where people live who told me that dogs in their neighborhoods got taken). Given that pets are often valuable, valuables regularly get stolen from airports, and some airports are known for both losing pets and hosting animal smugglers, I thought the dots could be fairly easily connected.

  14. Bativac says:

    I never have a problem getting turtles into the country. They’re fine as long as you feed them plenty of pizza before (and during) the flight.

    They usually aren’t allowed their swords or nunchuks as carryon items but we just ship those. It’s cheaper than checked baggage fees.

  15. centurion says:

    “Japanese passengers were busted for sneaking 55 live tortoises and turtles in luggage.”
    Where they for sale, or lunch?