Endangered tortoises rescued from smuggler

Thai authorities arrested a 38-year-old man attempting to collect a bag of 75 critically endangered tortoises at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

The bag contained 54 ploughshare tortoises and 21 radiated tortoises, which are both only found in Madagascar.

These species are listed as Critically Endangered and protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

Even though they are protected, they are huge targets for the black-market pet trade because of their scarcity and beauty.

Experts currently estimate that only 400 ploughshare tortoises live in the wild, and the 54 stolen tortoises account for 13 percent of their entire population!

Ploughshare and radiated tortoises confiscated in Bangkok. Photo by: P.Tansom/TRAFFIC.

Meanwhile, the radiated tortoise once numbered in the millions, but habitat loss, pet collecting, and local hunting has decimated its population.

 

Fortunately the turtles were alive and safe since they were meant for the illegal pet trade and not consumption.

 

Authorities are hoping that the man will be heavily punished to serve as an example for other smugglers.

 

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