Police in Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region on Tuesday arrested a man at an airport as he attempted to smuggle 200 lizards to Egypt.
Previous seizures of illegal trafficking of wildlife have involved birds, officials in Somaliland said, adding that this was the first case involving reptiles.
“The arrest was made at Egal airport in the region’s capital of Hargeisa,” the police said.
The police and wildlife authorities in the region said it was not immediately clear why the suspect was illegally exporting the reptiles.
“It is illegal to export Somaliland’s wildlife because they (can) become extinct,” said Gelle Hassan, a Communications Officer with Somaliland police.
Wrapped in clothes and hidden in bags, the reptiles which appeared to be shield-tailed agama, and can retail for $500 each on pet websites were handed over to the Ministry of Environment.