Almost 500 protected turtles found in Thai airport bags

November 7, 2013
A Thai official displays seized Black Pond turtles after they were discovered in suitcases at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on November 8.

Thai customs have found over a thousand turtles and tortoises in airport luggage in a week, including a haul of 470 creatures Friday as conservationists warn of "skyrocketing" smuggling for the pet trade.

Officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport said a 25-year-old Pakistani man had been arrested on suspicion of wildlife trafficking after four suitcases on a flight from Lahore were found to contain the protected black pond turtles.

The discovery came after authorities found 423 protected tortoises and 52 black pond turtles stashed in unclaimed bags on a carousal on Wednesday after arriving on a flight from Bangladesh.

On Sunday, customs at the same airport found 80 more protected turtles on luggage also from Bangladesh.

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

The rare black pond turtle originates in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal. International trade of the creatures is forbidden.

Shepherd said Thailand was a "globally significant trade hub" for turtles and tortoises and urged authorities to do more to find and prosecute high level smugglers.

"Few, if any, significant traders or kingpins in the tortoise and turtle racket have been penalised," he told AFP.

Thailand, seen as a hub for traffickers of many endangered species, came under pressure over the rampant smuggling of ivory through its territory during Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) talks in Bangkok this year.

Explore further: Malaysia seizes endangered Madagascan tortoises

Related Stories

Thailand seizes hundreds of turtles in air luggage

June 2, 2011

Thai customs have discovered hundreds of live turtles and other rare animals in luggage at Bangkok's main airport, the latest in a series of wildlife seizures in the kingdom, an official said on Thursday.

Tortoise trafficking raging out of control in Madagascar

May 3, 2013

Illegal trafficking of two critically endangered tortoise species from Madagascar has reached epidemic proportions, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Turtle Survival Alliance, ...

Thailand seizes 100 kilos of ivory from Africa

August 30, 2013

Thai customs on Friday said they had arrested two Vietnamese air passengers after finding more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of ivory in their luggage on a flight from Angola.

Swiss crack case of parrot egg underwear smuggler

October 17, 2013

Swiss customs authorities said Thursday that they had arrested a bird specialist who smuggled the eggs of protected parrots in his underwear and travelled the globe trading in rare species.

Recommended for you

Ancient walnut forests linked to languages, trade routes

September 4, 2015

If Persian walnut trees could talk, they might tell of the numerous traders who moved along the Silk Roads' thousands of miles over thousands of years, carrying among their valuable merchandise the seeds that would turn into ...

Huddling rats behave as a 'super-organism'

September 3, 2015

Rodents huddle together when it is cold, they separate when it is warm, and at moderate temperatures they cycle between the warm center and the cold edges of the group. In a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology, ...

Fighting explosives pollution with plants

September 3, 2015

Biologists at the University of York have taken an important step in making it possible to clean millions of hectares of land contaminated by explosives.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.