BRAMPTON, Canada — A Canadian man pleaded guilty after he was caught trying to return to the country with thousands of leeches, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
On May 24, Ippolit Bodounov, of Niagra Falls, Ontario, accepted responsibility for violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
He was fined $15,000 and forced to forfeit what National Geographic reports as 5,000 leeches.
Bodounov was caught after getting off his flight from Russia at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Oct. 17.
The batch of leeches were inside his carry-on bag.
An enforcement officer took the leeches to determine if the particular species was illegal to import.
Royal Ontario Museum Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Sebastian Kvist identified the leeches as Hirudo verbana, one of the two specifies of medicinal leeches subject to regulation. Import of Hirudo verbana is regulated because over-harvesting has threatened the species.
Bodounov did not have a permit and was charged with unlawful import of a regulated species.