A Canadian man was caught smuggling thousands of leeches into the country.The animals have been confiscated and the man was fined $15,000 for his offense.
Leeches are generally a source of disgust for people, but not for the Ontarian man who recently pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle 4,700 live leeches into the country.
Ippolit Bodounov, of Niagara Falls, pled guilty to the Ontario Court of Justice on Friday for violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
Mr. Bodunov was intercepted at Toronto Pearson International Airport on October 17, 2018, at the end of his flight from Russia.
The leeches he was carrying would have been discovered during his visit to the customs. “An enforcement officer seized the leeches to identify the species and determine if the importation was in accordance with the law,” the authorities said in a statement.
A specialist then analyzed the invertebrates seized and was able to determine that the leech species was one of only two that was subject to regulation to control wildlife trade.
“These species are regulated because they are highly threatened by the excessive harvest of medicinal leeches in the wild. […] The results suggest that all the leeches examined came from nature,” added the authorities.
Ippolit Bodunov had failed to obtain a permit to import the medicinal leeches he was carrying.
Mr. Bodunov was fined $ 15,000 for his offense, in addition to having his leeches confiscated.