A BIRD centre has hatched £100,000 of rare eggs smuggled into Britain.
Wildlife hunter Jeffrey Lendrum had the South African haul hidden in a body pouch when stopped at Heathrow last June.
The International Centre for Birds of Prey hand-reared 17 of the 19 chicks, including fish eagles, Cape vultures, black sparrowhawks and hawk-eagles.
Jemima Parry-Jones, director of the centre in Newent, Gloucs, said: “They can’t go back into the wild. They’re too habituated to humans. Their offspring can, so we’ll try breeding from them.
Ms Parry-Jones continued: “We will try breeding from these birds and then their young will be parent-reared rather than hand-reared.
“This means the offspring will be viable to go back to the wild.”
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She added: “Customs officials are going to visit to discuss the birds future because once court case like this is over the birds belong to the Crown.”
Serial egg crook Lendrum, 56, an Irish and Zimbabwean citizen, got 37 months’ jail after admitting smuggling at Snaresbrook crown court, East London.
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