By Lara Keay For Mailonline
Published: 13:32 BST, 17 June 2019 | Updated: 13:33 BST, 17 June 2019
Spanish airline Iberia is facing a hefty fine after 12 capybaras died inside one of their planes after being locked up without water for 56 hours.
The South American rodents were among 20 who were flown from the Peruvian capital of Lima to London, via Madrid.
Staff at Heathrow Airport were immediately concerned when the Iberia plane landed on October 28 last year.
The capybaras were found in cramped cages without any water or sufficient ventilation.
Two of them were found dead and a further 10 died in the reception area of the London airport, Uxbridge Magistrates Court heard today.
Spanish airline Iberia is facing a hefty fine after 12 capybaras (stock photo of animal) died inside one of their planes after being locked up without water for 56 hours
The court was told the creatures started their journey in Lima, with Iberia's Chilean partner Latam Airlines, before being flown by Iberia from Madrid to Beijing via London Heathrow.
Staff at Heathrow Animal Reception Centre immediately became concerned when the Iberia plane landed on 28 October last year, Uxbridge Magistrates' Court heard.
Prosecutor Jaysen Sharp said: 'The crates did not have dispenser bars and insufficient ventilation.
'The animals were inspected and two were found to be deceased on arrival. The remaining 18 animals appeared to be in bad shape.'
He said one of the rodents died before it could be taken out of its crate.
'Another one collapsed, appeared to be drooling and showing cerebral dysfunction.'
A vet examined the