50 crocodiles seized at Heathrow Airport and saved from meat farm

Illegal crocodile shipment Credit: Press Association Images

An illegal shipment of 50 crocodiles has been seized by border officers at Heathrow Airport.

The year-old juvenile saltwater crocodiles were found in five boxes by staff in a live shipment from Malaysia, UK Border Force said.

They were destined for a farm in Cambridgeshire, where they were to be bred for their meat.

The animals, weighing around 40kgs, had not been packed in accordance with International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, invalidating their permit and making the importation illegal.

Each box only had room for four crocodiles but 10, foot-long reptiles had been packed into each one.

Grant Miller, head of the national Border Force Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) at Heathrow, said: “It is just not acceptable for reptiles to be transported in this way.

The crocodiles are being cared for before being rehomed. Credit: Home Office

“The crocodiles had started to fight each other during the flight as space was limited, so little attention had been paid to their welfare.

“We will seize anything that contravenes CITES regulations, so this should serve as a warning to those thinking about transporting wildlife in such conditions.”

One crocodile has died since the discovery on April 27 and the remaining animals are being cared for before being re-homed.