Two million endangered eels seized at airport

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An attempt to smuggle two million critically endangered baby European eels into Bulgaria has been thwarted by customers officers at Sofia International Airport.

The eels were packed into eight styrofoam containers and declared by two Chinese nationals travelling from Madrid to be food items.

The European eel (Anguila Anguila) is classified as a critically threatened species of fish protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Trading in the species is prohibited without a permit, but the eels sell in Europe for around £375 per kilo, while in Asian countries the price can be as much as £970 a kilo.

The smugglers were taken into police custody and the baby eels transported to a public aquarium in Varna, which has a rescue facility. 

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