Over 1,500 Turtles Found Inside Luggage in Philippines

07 March, 2019, 10:38 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • More than 1,500 exotic turtles and tortoises abandoned by suspected smuggler at Manila airport

Some 1,500 live exotic turtles - some restrained with duct-tape - have been found inside an airline passenger's luggage, Philippines authorities said yesterday, as they vowed a crackdown on the lucrative wildlife trade.

The animals were valued at 4.5 million Philippine pesos, or $87,000, according to a Facebook post from the Bureau.

Violators may face up to two years of imprisonment and a fine up to 200,000 pesos (U.S. $3,857), the bureau said.

The small turtles and tortoises were discovered alive inside the unclaimed luggage, which had traveled from Hong Kong on Sunday.

All are protected species under the International Union for Conversation of Nature.

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The animals were found in duct-taped containers in four pieces of abandoned luggage at Manila airport.

They were found on World Wildlife Day, as Philippine news website Rappler reported.

The 1529 turtles were turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit. Officials said the passenger abandoned the suitcases in the arrival area of the airport.

They then found that the unclaimed suitcases contained several species of turtles, such as star tortoises, sulcata tortoises, red-footed tortoises, and red-eared sliders.

Both types of animal are often kept as exotic pets, but are sometimes also used as a form of traditional medicine or served as food across parts of Asia. And earlier this year, port authorities said they found 63 chameleons, iguanas and bearded dragons in travelers' bags.

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