At an airport, dozens of tortoises were discovered inside pieces of luggage.
Some 330 live tortoises were being smuggled in the luggage. Inside, it was packed into five cardboard cartons along with a note that says “stones,” The Dodo reported this week.
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“I don’t know precise details of this case, but it’s not uncommon for tortoises literally to have their limbs taped with masking tape or similar to prevent them moving about and thus drawing attention to themselves while in transit,” Richard Thomas, global communications coordinator for TRAFFIC, told The Dodo.
They included five ploughshare tortoises and 325 radiated tortoises, smuggled out of Madagascar. They’re critically endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
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Kanitha Krishnasamy of TRAFFIC told The Dodo: “The string of seizures certainly shows that Malaysian customs means business and TRAFFIC is glad to see this action against organized criminal wildlife trafficking.”
“However, it’s worrying that shipments headed for Southeast Asia from Africa via the Middle East are only detected in the [delivery] region — it clearly points towards the need for greater scrutiny at airports both at points of origin and at transit points such as Doha [Qatar], Dubai [United Arab Emirates] and Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates].”
Top photo credit: TRAFFIC