Brazilian authorities say seven rare albino alligators have been stolen from a university zoo, and that animal smugglers may have taken the reptiles to sell them abroad.
Investigators say the animals were stolen from the Federal University of Mato Grosso sometime between Monday, when they were last fed, and Wednesday, when a zookeeper noticed they were missing. There was no sign of a break-in.
Officials say the stolen reptiles were about two years old and were among eight albino alligators housed at the zoo. Authorities say the creatures - which are worth close to $10,000 each - probably would not survive in the wild because their lack of coloring would make it nearly impossible for them to hide from predators.
Brazilian authorities say the country accounts for about 10 percent of the illegal animal trade around the world.Some information for this report was provided by AP.