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Traveller, a fine of $ 15,000 for the smuggling of thousands of live leeches in the Canadian airport

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A traveler who was caught with nearly 5,000 leeches in his luggage has been fined $ 15,000 for attempting to smuggle live cargo to Canada.

The traveller, who, as Ippolit Bodounov of the Niagara Falls, Ontario, had flown to Toronto Pearson International Airport from Russia in October 2018, the wear of the 4,788 leeches in his hand luggage.

Officials later determined the leeches to have some sort of approved medicinal leeches, according to a press release of the Environment and Climate change in Canada.

The officials found the live leeches wrapped in wet towels that were stored in a basket.
(Environment and Climate change, Canada)

SEE: WOMAN CAUGHT SMUGGLING 19 LIVING SPECIES OF LIZARDS BY THE AUSTRALIAN AIRPORT

On May 24, Bodounov pled guilty to violating Canada’s Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, in an Ontario court. He was sentenced to pay a $15,000 fine, which will be processed in the direction of the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

Budounov is also a ban on the import, export or possession of all of the animals protected under the international Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreement for a period of one year.

Budounov originally had flown into Toronto Pearson International Airport on Oct. 17, where a trained dog sniffed the leeches in his pocket, the CBC reports.

The officials found the live leeches wrapped in wet towels that were stored in a basket.

The leeches were seized and later identified as Hirudo verbena – a species valued for its medicinal and anti-coagulative properties – by an expert at the Royal Ontario Museum. An example of the leeches was also sent to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where tests determined that the leeches were harvested in the wild, according to the press release.

THE OFFICIALS FOUND THE LUGGAGE WITH MORE THAN $1 MILLION WORTH OF SMUGGLED LOBSTERS

Bodounov reportedly told airport officials the leeches were for his personal use and that the leeches’ waste water would enrich with his flowers. However, Andre Lupert, the Wildlife Enforcement Directorate of Environment and Climate change Canada, remained skeptical.

“This kind of leech amount would suggest that it was for sale,” one official told National Geographic earlier this year.

Lupert told the outlet that some people use leeches as a form of alternative medicine, believe the leeches relieve the pain or clean the body of the so-called “bad” blood.

Leeches, however, be lawfully used for the stimulation of blood flow through the anticoagulant properties of their saliva, in such cases, where the numbers have to reattachment, the CBC reports.

“Canada does not tolerate the exploitation of endangered species for profit.”

— Environment and Climate change Canada

An expert from the Royal Ontario Museum confirmed that the type of leech Bodounov wore could fetch up to $20 per piece on the black market.

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“The illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be worth up to $20 billion USD per year and is a threat to many of the world’s most beloved animals in the wild,” Environment and Climate change Canada wrote in its press release.

“Canada does not tolerate the exploitation of endangered species for profit.”

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