A man was detained at the airport in Cayenne, French Guiana, while allegedly attempting to smuggle more than a dozen live hummingbirds out of the country, concealed in his pants.
The Dutch national was stopped at Rochambeau airport in the French Caribbean territory, which borders on Brazil and Suriname.
Customs agents took photos of the tiny birds, who were individually wrapped in cloth to keep them still, and then inserted into pouches over the man’s crotch – see images below and left, via the Daily Mail.
Trafficking in rare and endangered species is a multibillion-dollar business for organized crime groups in Latin America. Interpol estimates that ecotrafficking generates up to $20 billion in annual profits worldwide.
One reason traffickers might turn to the illegal trade in rare creatures and flora is that this can be more profitable and less risky than other organized crime activities, like human smuggling.