Smuggly but still sort of warm

Good morning, Mister Leech, have you had a busy day?

A man has been fined $11,000 for trying to smuggle thousands of leeches in his carry-on luggage on a flight from Russia to Canada. Ippolit Bodounov was detained at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport last October.

Some 4,788 wild, live leeches were found in a large reusable grocery bag, Canadian environment officials said. The leeches, intended for medicinal usage, are regulated to control the wildlife trade.

Less than $3 per leech, if you’re keeping score.

The discovery was made after a dog working with border agents smelled the leeches. They were then sent off for tests to determine if they were lawful, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said in a statement.

The leeches were identified as Hirudo verbana, one of only two species of medicinal leech that come under regulations aimed at controlling wildlife trade.

“These species are regulated because over-harvesting of medicinal leeches from the wild is a major threat to the species,” the statement said.

The IUCN lists medicinal leeches as near-threatened.


  1. fillyjonk »

    30 May 2019 · 3:45 pm

    I….didn’t think leeches were that hard to raise in captivity. (And now I’m curious about what species it was that squicked my friends and me out so much when we went wading as kids in Ohio)

    Though I guess if this kind of smuggling “went south,” it would be less-deadly than that cocaine-smuggler you posted about the other day.

  2. McGehee »

    30 May 2019 · 5:02 pm

    Certainly less expensive than the human variety.

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