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Here’s a curious smuggling case, but the question that hasn’t been answered is what was a Northern Mariana Islands senator trying to do when he hid eight dead fahini fruit bats in 40 pounds of lemons?

Sen. Juan Manglona Ayuyu recently pleading guilty to conspiring to violate federal wildlife trafficking laws by sneaking the endangered bat carcasses into a plane bound for Saipan and to allegedly trying to get a witness to throw off the grand jury investigation, according to court records.

The indictment below has some of the details. But there is no indication if the bats were hunting trophies or were intended to be part of a meal.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fanihi have been consumed by humans since they first inhabited the area, and eating the bat “represents a significant cultural tradition.” Hunting the flying rodent has been illegal on the islands since the 1970s.

More on the bats here.

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