Stingray smuggling bust creates new Waikiki aquarium display
A stingray smuggling bust turned into a new display at the Waikiki Aquarium.
HONOLULU - A smuggling bust turned into a new display at the Waikiki aquarium.
The HDOA Plant Quarantine intercepted a box of six stingrays about a month ago at Honolulu International airport. They later realized, the rays were in danger.
Inadequate shipping led to the death of four of the stingrays. Two, remain on display at the aquarium.
Known as "Matoro" stingrays, they're found only in the Amazon River Basin. Dr. Andrew Rossiter, Executive Director of Waikiki Aquarium, said the stingrays could pose a major threat if exposed to the wild.
"On the tail they have a poison Barb and if somebody were to step on them, the tail flicks up, the Barb sticks out, and then it sticks into the leg or foot of the unfortunate person.” Said Rossiter.
The barbs have hooks on them, making it difficult to pull out...and often times snap off and remain in the muscle.
Investigators don't know for sure where the rays came from... but have suspicions.
“There are captive breeding programs in Malaysia and Thailand, so it may be from there.” said Rossiter.
Why import them? Rossiter said some people want to keep the fish as ornamental pets. His guess is that whoever tried to smuggle them to the island, had hopes of trying to breed them.
If you see a fish or animal that looks out of place, Rossiter advises reporting it to HDOA Plant Quarantine's pest hotline.