A Belgian citizen by the name of Hugo Conings was arrested on Monday at Jorge Chavez International Airport near Lima in Peru after airport authorities detected that there were 20 live exotic birds packed into his suitcases.
Having entered and exited Peru several times, Conings was headed to Madrid in Spain, where authorities suspect he was intending to sell the wild birds.
Conings had just passed through security and was boarding the plane when the birds, packed into boxes inside his luggage, were discovered by customs controls officers who noticed an anomaly in the suitcases, a statement by the National Forest and Wildlife Service of Peru explains.
Amongst the 20 recovered wild birds were two red-headed bearded, two emerald tangara, three tanager aliazul and five sequin tangara. One tangara del sira bird, whose existence is under threat, was also found.
As wild birds are protected by the Peruvian state, the Belgian citizen may face prison time for his attempt to illegally traffic wildlife- a billion-dollar, global industry. He is currently detained at the headquarters of the Environment Directorate of Peru's national police.
The 20 birds have been transferred to the Park of Las Leyendas in Lima's zoo to receive care.
There are over 1,800 confirmed bird species in Peru.
The Brussels Times