Gatwick Airport seizes Sir Richard Branson's lemurs

Officials at Gatwick Airport seize Richard Branson's lemursPA


Sir Richard Branson is attempting to import lemurs to his Caribbean island in a bid to preserve the endangered animals.

But his plan hit a stumbling block when officials at Gatwick Airport seized three of the animals as paperwork was not properly filled in.

A fourth lemur was not allowed to fly because it became ill after a TB jab.

However, 19 of the animals, which were born and bred at a private zoo in Britain, successfully made the trip to Necker Island, where there are now a total of 37 lemurs.

The Virgin boss hopes the move will help protect the species, which are only found on the African island of Madagascar.

But a wildlife expert said introducing non-native species to a new area can be dangerous.

According to The Sun, Christoph Schwitzer said: "They need a fenced-in enclosure where they can't be a problem to the native fauna and flora."

A spokesman for Sir Richard reportedly told the paper that the three lemurs left behind would "follow shortly".

At least he hasn't resorted to the underhand tactics of some; last month, a smuggler was caught trying to hide a live Loris monkey in his underwear at India's Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The suspect from the United Arab Emirates, who was detained along with two other travellers, had arrived from Bangkok, and was about to board a connecting flight to Dubai on Jet Airways, according to news.com.au.

The site reports that a customs official said: "Security personnel found the monkey in his underwear while frisking the transit passengers."

The little Loris monkey measured seven inches in length and weighed 150 grammes.

See more endangered species around the world here:

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