Austria stops man trying to smuggle in 74 chameleons

BERLIN (AP) — Austrian authorities stopped a man at Vienna airport as he tried to smuggle 74 protected chameleons from Africa into the country.

This undated photo privided by the Tiergarten Schoenbrunn (Schoenbrunn Zoo) on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 shows a chameleon in Vienna, Austria. AP

They said in a statement on Friday a 56-year-old man, who was not further identified, had hidden the animals in socks and empty ice-cream boxes when he was caught at customs control in Vienna.

He travelled to Austria from Tanzania via Ethiopia.

The chameleons were taken to the Austrian capital’s Schoenbrunn Zoo, which said three of the animals did not survive. The animals were from the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania and ranged in age from one week old to adult animals.

On the black market they would sell for about EUR37,000, officials said.