Ploughshare Tortoise Smuggling

Mar 20, 2013
The Reptile Report
by Robyn

The Reptile Report - Bangkok, Thailand- Just a day after the close a global wildlife trade conference here, authorities at Suvarnabhumi International Airport made two big seizures, discovering hundreds of threatened tortoises and apprehending two smugglers. Among the tortoises seized were some of the rarest in the world.

On Friday, authorities arrested a 38-year-old Thai man as he was attempting to collect a bag containing tortoises from Madagascar, from a luggage carousel, at the airport. The bag was registered to a 25-year-old woman who had flown from Madagascar to Bangkok via Nairobi the same day.

Royal Thai Customs officers and their counterparts in the CITES management authority found 54 Ploughshare Tortoises Astrochelys yniphora and 21 Radiated Tortoises Astrochelys radiata, both of which are assessed as being Critically Endangered.

Ploughshare and Radiated Tortoises are endemic to Madagascar, totally protected in the country and are both listed in CITES Appendix I. The wild population of Ploughshare Tortoises, considered among the rarest species in the world, is estimated to be as few as 400 individuals, and is declining fast.

Read the full story after the jump. Thanks to Urban Jungles Radio for shedding light on this story.

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