From Addis Ababa to Vienna: man travels with more than 80 live geckos in his suitcase

Customs officials at Vienna Airport discovered almost 90 living reptiles in a man's luggage.

From Addis Ababa to Vienna: man travels with more than 80 live geckos in his suitcase

Customs officials at Vienna Airport discovered almost 90 living reptiles in a man's luggage. The Austrian Ministry of Finance announced on Tuesday that the employees came across "to their own horror" the "initially unmanageable quantity" of non-protected reptiles. In addition to 85 geckos, there were also two snakes and two scorpions in the three carefully hidden transport boxes.

"Some of the penned animals were in very poor health and were already showing clear signs of dehydration," the ministry said. The animals were immediately taken to Schönbrunn Zoo, where they have now "recovered well". The incident happened at the end of May.

The customs officials had checked the 50-year-old when he wanted to use the exit for travelers without goods that had to be declared. During his questioning, the alleged smuggler stated that the geckos were "worthless" for him. The man who flew to Vienna from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa only took them with him to feed his snakes. Customs estimated the sale value of the reptiles at 47,000 euros.

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