Ecuador sentences man caught with iguanas to four years

Editors' Picks

  • Striking deficiencies giving Van Gaal much to ponder

    Striking deficiencies giving Van Gaal much to ponder

    Striking deficiencies giving Van Gaal much to ponder

    By Martyn Herman LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal accepts that finding a cure for his side's misfiring forward line will be essential if they are to challenge for the Premier League title next season. United's steady improvement under the Dutchman has come to a grinding halt with consecutive defeats against Chelsea, Everton and West Bromwich Albion, undermining their hopes of sealing a top-four finish without undue anxiety. They failed to score in any of those …

  • Chelsea's title built on granite foundations

    Chelsea's title built on granite foundations

    Chelsea's title built on granite foundations

    By Mitch Phillips LONDON (Reuters) - While some of his rivals were spending millions on marquee defenders last summer Jose Mourinho was happy to sell David Luiz secure in the knowledge he had a back four that would be the bedrock of Chelsea's title push. With the Premier League trophy now back at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho's judgement has again proved spot on as John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta have been the most reliable defensive unit in the country. Marcos …

  • Defeats leave Burnley and QPR on brink, Man Utd lose

    Defeats leave Burnley and QPR on brink, Man Utd lose

    Defeats leave Burnley and QPR on brink, Man Utd lose

    By Tom Hayward LONDON (Reuters) - Burnley and Queens Park Rangers' Premier League survival hopes were left hanging by a thread after defeats and unfavourable results elsewhere left them rooted to the foot of the table on Saturday. Manchester United slipped to a third successive defeat, 1-0 at home to West Bromwich Albion, at the other end of the league and missed the chance to go second behind Chelsea who can lift the title on Sunday by beating Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. Most …

  • Juventus bring out the best in rejuvenated Tevez

    Juventus bring out the best in rejuvenated Tevez

    Juventus bring out the best in rejuvenated Tevez

    Carlos Tevez arrived at Juventus with a reputation as a troublemaker who had fallen out of favour both at his former club Manchester City and the Argentine national side. Juve have tamed the wilder instincts of a player who was once sent off for Boca Juniors in his homeland after celebrating a goal against River Plate by flapping his arms to imitate a chicken. The 31-year-old scored 21 goals in his first season as Juventus won Serie A by a 17-point margin and has been instrumental in helping …

  • Louis van Gaal hopes Angel Di Maria will stay despite disappointing first season

    Louis van Gaal hopes Angel Di Maria will stay despite disappointing first season

    Louis van Gaal hopes Angel Di Maria will stay despite disappointing first season

    Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hopes Angel Di Maria will improve next season. He also blamed United's extended pre-season tour for their poor start to the season. …

  • Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira signs contract extension

    Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira signs contract extension

    Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira signs contract extension

    Andreas Pereira commits to Manchester United …

Quito, Feb 6 (IANS/EFE) A court handed down a four-year prison term to a German citizen caught trying to smuggle four iguanas out of the Galapagos islands, authorities at Ecuador's Galapagos National Park said.

Dirk Bender, a 32-year-old lifeguard, was convicted last month after he violated the ban on removing plants or animals from the archipelago.

He was arrested in July 2012 as he prepared to board a commercial flight at the airport on Baltra island. The security scanner detected a suspicious item in one his bags, which on examination turned out to contain two iguanas.

The other two iguanas were found after a sniffer dog alerted guards to the presence of something unusual in another piece of Bender's luggage.

The creatures belong to the species Conolophus subcristatus, listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as "vulnerable", one step short of endangered.

Bender admitted during his trial that he had been detained in Fiji in 2001 for attempting to smuggle iguanas, the park directors said.

He will serve his sentence at a prison in the mainland coastal city of Guayaquil.

The Galapagos Islands, which lie in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian mainland, served as a natural laboratory that inspired English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory about evolution, natural selection and the origin of species.

--IANS/EFE

rd