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Galapagos iguana smuggler convicted

AFP-JIJI

A court in Ecuador has convicted a German tourist of trying to smuggle four threatened iguanas out of the Galapagos Islands in his luggage, authorities said Sunday.

Dirk Bender was convicted “of having altered the local ecosystem of the archipelago,” park authorities said.

The Galapagos National Park has requested the maximum four-year jail term for Bender, who should be sentenced in the coming days.

The hidden reptiles were Galapagos land iguanas (conolophus subcristatus), which the International Union for Conservation of Nature ranks as “vulnerable” on its list of threatened species.