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Accused smuggler nabbed with 130 endangered poisonous frogs worth $130K in her luggage

A Brazilian woman was arrested at an airport in Colombia for allegedly trying to smuggle 130 endangered poisonous frogs in her luggage.

The passenger was nabbed with the amphibian contraband at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá on Monday as she was traveling to São Paulo, Brazil, via Panama, officials said.

The Harlequin frogs, also known as poison-dart frogs, were stuffed inside film canisters and were described by Colombian officials as being dehydrated and stressed.

The suspected smuggler, who was not identified, claimed that she had been gifted the frogs by members of a community in Southern Colombia.

Police said the vibrantly hued frogs, which are smaller than a human thumb, can fetch up to $1,000 each on the black market, making the Brazilian suspect’s total haul worth about $130,000.

The poison-dart frogs’ skin glands produce highly toxic secretions that can kill their natural predators, including birds and small animals.

The species’ name is derived from a practice by the Choco people of western Colombia to dip the tips of their blow darts used for hunting in the skin discharge produced by the golden poison frog, considered one of the most poisonous animals on the planet, according to San Diego Zoo’s website.

A single golden poison frog can supply enough nerve toxin for 30 to 50 darts — and the poison remains active for up to a year.

The poison-dart frogs are found in the humid rainforests of Central and South America.

They are considered to be critically endangered.

Bogotá Police Commander Juan Carlos Arevalo said the species is highly sought-after by private collectors of exotic animals.

The Brazilian citizen has been charged with wildlife trafficking.

She could be fined up to $14,300 for having the frogs in her possession, said Bogotá Environment Secretary Adriana Soto.

The Brazilian citizen has been charged with wildlife trafficking.

Animal and animal part trafficking is rampant in Colombia — one of the most biodiverse countries in the world — especially of amphibians and small mammals.


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