A man was arrested at the airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil after 200 canaries were found in his suitcase. The smuggler is a resident of Brazil and had just gotten off a flight from Peru. Over 60 of the birds were dead. The others are being returned to Peru by a more humane means of transport. The man has been charged with animal trafficking and is currently being held by police in Sao Paulo.
The birds were found after a routine x-ray at a security checkpoint. They were stuffed into 4 cages inside a large suitcase. The deceased birds had succumbed to suffocation and dehydration.
Of more interest to authorities was the fact that the particular species of canary is considered invasive and would have posed a threat to similar birds native to Sao Paulo. Exotic bird smuggling is a huge problem worldwide. Not only are certain birds endangered or considered a threat to local wildlife, there is a risk of viruses and diseases, like H5N1, spreading because of the illegal importation of exotic birds.