Austria: Man caught trying to smuggle 74 chameleons into country

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A man has been stopped at Vienna airport by authorities for attempting to smuggle 74 species-protected chameleons into Austria from Africa.

Officials said the 56-year-old, who was not identified, had hidden the animals in socks and empty ice cream boxes when he was caught at customs control.

He had travelled to Austria from Tanzania via Ethiopia.

The chameleons were taken to the Austrian capital's Schonbrunn Zoo, which said three of the animals did not survive.

All the reptiles were from the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania and ranged in age from one week old to adult animals.

On the black market they would sell for about 37,000 euros (£33,000), officials said.

The man who tried to smuggle the animals into Austria will now have to pay a fine of up to €6,000 (£4,400), ministers said.