Tuesday, February 3, 2009
A pigeon-lover ruffled a few feathers today at an airport in Australia - after customs agents found two birds stuffed into his pants as he attempted to smuggle them into the country, authorities said.
The 23-year-old man, who was not identified, wrapped the pair of pigeons in newspaper and concealed one on the inside of each of his legs for the duration of a ten-hour flight from Dubai, the Times of London reported.
Customs officials in Melbourne said he would have escaped detection if they had not discovered two eggs hidden in his pocket and decided to carry out a full body search.
The officers also uncovered seeds inside a money belt stuffed in his bag, the newspaper reported.
Australia has some of the strictest customs laws in the world since importing new animals or plant life could spread disease across the island nation.
Richard Janeczko, who serves as the country's national investigations manager for customs service, said wildlife smuggling "is not only cruel to the animals involved, it poses a severe risk to the Australian environment and the health of the Australian community."
If the man is charged with wildlife smuggling, he could face a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars and a $72,000 fine.