Almost 1,000 smuggled turtles found in luggage at Thai airport

Black Pond Turtle photo
CC BY-SA 2.0 Flickr

Make sure you don't inadvertently buy smuggled animals

Some people want pet turtles, and they don't care where they're from or whether they are endangered species. Sadly, this trade is apparently booming, as just in the past few days almost 1,000 turtles were confiscated at a Thai airport. Imagine all the turtles (and other animals) that weren't discovered and smuggled away...

Customs officials at the airport have tightened security after 423 radiata turtles and 52 Hamilton turtles worth an estimated 900,000 baht were found inside two unclaimed suitcases from Dhaka in Bangladesh on Wednesday night.

This extra security led to the arrest of a Pakistani man who was arrested with 470 black pond turtles "valued at around 3.5 million baht" hidden in his suitcases.

All 3 turtle species are protected by the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act of 1992 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

"It does seem that the number of turtles and tortoises coming out of South Asia is skyrocketing, especially with regard to the black pond turtle," said Chris Shepherd of the wildlife trade protection group Traffic.

Via BP, AFP, Grist

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