FIFA 2014: Brazil Appeals to World Cup Tourist Not to Buy Iguana & Other Exotic Animals as Souvenirs

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By Vittorio Hernandez | May 30, 2014 8:53 AM EST

A monkey dressed as The Monkey King stands with a chain around its neck at a zoo in Shenyang, Liaoning province May 10, 2014. The monkey is used by its owner to take pictures with visitors at the zoo. The Monkey King is the main character of
A monkey dressed as The Monkey King stands with a chain around its neck at a zoo in Shenyang, Liaoning province May 10, 2014. The monkey is used by its owner to take pictures with visitors at the zoo. The Monkey King is the main character of "Journey to the West", a classic Chinese novel. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA

Brazilian authorities reminded World Cup tourists not to buy iguanas, parrots and other wildlife as their souvenir of the FIFA soccer matches hosted by the South American nation. About 600,000 foreign tourists and 3.1 million Brazilians are expected to converge in 12 World Cup cities in Brazil for the tournament which starts June 12.

To remind the visitors which animals and insects are prohibited from being sold, authorities released a list of environmental guidelines based on a compilation prepared in the Brazilian northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte. The state's capital city is Natal, a World Cup host city.

Wildlife on the list include monkeys, birds, snakes, butterflies, spiders and scorpions. The ban includes jewellery or crafts made from wildlife which would mean anything with feathers, teeth, leather or butterfly wings.

Those caught buying wildlife, whether the animal or insect is dead or alive, would be fined up to 5,000 reals (equivalent to $2,300 or €1,700).

Authorities also warned tourists to ignore offers from locals of photo ops with wild animals in exchange for money, which is considered an illegal activity and hurts the animal.

Other guidelines include hiring licenced guides only in exploring the beaches to avoid crushing birds' or turtles' nests and banning the taking of corals. Finally, for the wealthy tourist, the guidelines recommend that they consult environmental officers before purchasing a beachfront house or lot.

For FIFA officials, the headache is in the slow preparation of Brazil causing several sports venues to remain unfinished with just over two weeks to the official opening.

The frustrating situation has caused FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke to tweet after visiting the Arena das Dunas, "Race against the clock. Still lots to be done for World Cup fans and media." Together with the tweet, he posted photos of skeletal stands with seats waiting to be installed.

Valcke called on all parties in Nadal for full commitment to ensure that everything will be in place and tested before June 13 when the first match between Mexico and Cameroon is slated to be held at Dunas Arena.

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(Photo: Reuters / Stringer)
A monkey dressed as The Monkey King stands with a chain around its neck at a zoo in Shenyang, Liaoning province May 10, 2014.
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