Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Museum curator detained at Turkish airport for smuggling spider and scorpion samples

2024   -  
Copyright © africanews
AP/dia images


A curator at the American Museum of Natural History was detained in Istanbul on Monday while allegedly attempting to smuggle spider and scorpion samples, Turkish media reported.

Lorenzo Prendini, an expert on arachnids at the prestigious New York-based institute, was held by police at Istanbul Airport while trying to take some 1,500 samples out of the country, several news outlets reported.

A video published by the IHA news agency showed anti-smuggling officers searching his hand luggage and removing zip-lock plastic bags that appeared to be packed with dead spiders and scorpions.

They also allegedly found liquid samples of venom in plastic vials.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that Prendini was detained for allegedly attempting to smuggle endemic species.

The museum’s website lists South Africa-born Prendini as the curator of its spider, scorpion, centipede and millipede collections, as well as a professor at its Richard Gilder Graduate School.

His research into spiders and scorpions has taken him to more than 30 countries and he has published numerous scientific articles on the subject, according to the museum.

He also works at the City University of New York’s biology department.

View more