Officials said officers searching through the luggage of two Romanian woman who arrived at Terminal Five from the Bahamas discovered endangered San Salvador rock iguanas hidden inside socks packed in a suitcase, the Mirror reported Tuesday.
One of the 13 iguanas did not survive the trip, said Grant Miller of the Border Force's endangered species team.
"This particular species of iguana is incredibly rare -- only a few hundred are believed to be left in existence -- so this was a remarkable and very important seizure," Miller said. "Given the circumstances we found them in it seems incredible that all but one survived such a long flight. The surviving animals were dehydrated and are now under the supervision of a specialist vet. We are also working with experts to find the best way to protect and safeguard these endangered creatures longer term."
Authorities said the women, ages 24 and 26, were arrested and are being investigated for importation offenses.