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.