Dead caimans at Schiphol


A formal statement is forthcoming from the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment of Guyana in South America regarding two ill-fated shipments of life animals that have been confiscated in the Netherlands over the past month. “A press release will be issued,” Minister Robert Persaud said on Sunday when asked for a reaction. He did not confirm whether his Government was aware of the finds.

The find of the animals was reported on Saturday by the Dutch Food and Goods Authority NVWA, which said in a statement that in November and December almost 370 animals from Guyana died en route to the Schiphol International airport.

The latest find was on Thursday: 200 caimans (a cousin to the alligator) and three snakes that arrived at Schiphol on transit to the Ukraine, had been left out in the freezing cold for 1.5 hours. The animals also had not been boxed properly and 48 caimans had died before they were discovered. The three snakes and 14 other caimans are not expected to survive either.

It was the second such find in one month. On 29 November NVWA had already found 444 caimans from Guyana. They were shipped 50 animals per box, whereas the international directive is three per box. No less than 318 arrived dead; five perished the day after they were found.

NVWA gave the surviving animals in care of a storage of the Economic Affairs Ministry. A report of animal cruelty and violation of international animal transport guidelines was filed against the airlines that had allowed the improper shipments of the animals.

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A report was also filed against the shipper of the animals, for violating the flora and fauna legislations and because there was no formal CITES license for shipping the animals. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

The Guyana finds are not common. NVWA more often finds shipments of animals from neighboring former Dutch colony Suriname, which has multiple weekly flights direct to the Netherlands. The most recent find was on Tuesday December 10th of six songbirds (thick-billed seed finches or Picolets) on a man who had tried to disguise them as gift wrapped Christmas gifts. He faces a stiff fine.   


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