Live aquarium fish shipped through the mail; 12 die

Above, an umbee cichlid.

By the Daily Post staff

A concerned postal worker discovered that nearly 40 South American aquarium fish were being sent in a Styrofoam ice chest from Maryland to Hawaii and turned them into the Peninsula
Humane Society in Burlingame, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Part of the cardboard box carrying the 39 Umbee Cichlids, which were sent by a Maryland breeder, had come off, and 12 of the fish were dead, said humane society spokeswoman Buffy
Martin Tarbox.

The postal worker turned the fish into the humane society, which contacted the breeder, who surrendered the fish so that no more would perish on their journey, Tarbox said.

It’s legal to ship some live animals, but it is not a safe way to transport creatures, Tarbox said. The surviving fish are up for adoption at the humane society for $5 each.

The freshwater Umbees, which are native to South America, can live for 10 years and grow up to two feet long.