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Pattaya Daily News

12 October 2010 :: 14:10:00 pm 43824

Thai Customs Seize Consignment of Tortoises from Africa

Thai Customs Officers on Sunday seized a consignment of some 218 radiated tortoises brought into the Kingdom by a Malagasy man. The man had been attempting to smuggle the endangered reptile into Thailand for sale in Bangkok.
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Bangkok, the 11th of October 2010: Customs arrested the Malagasy man, Mr. Basoiry Djamaldine, after the endangered radiated tortoises were discovered concealed in his baggage. The reptile is native to southern Madagascar and is currently placed on the International Union for Conservation of Natures (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The man was apprehended after a random search of his luggage by Customs officers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport uncovered the consignment. Originally smuggled out of Madagascar, the tortoises had been packed into two pieces of luggage on a Kenyan Airways flight from Nairobi.

Four of the 218 reptiles were found deceased, while all 214 of the living tortoise were found to be in a weak and severely dehydrated condition, due to the long flight. Animal welfare officers have since administered saline drops and food to the reptiles, which are said to be recovering well.

Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Sunun Arunnopparat informed a packed press conference of the arrest which was in part instigated after Thai Customs were tipped off by an unnamed worldwide wildlife organisation regarding the smuggling.

Authorities are currently investigating the intended destination for the endangered species, believed to be one or several vendors at Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak Market. Initial reports estimate the black market value of the reptiles at approximately Bt1.2 million.

Sunday’s confiscation of radiated tortoises represents the second such seizure of endangered species at Suvarnabhumi Airport in the past month, after 1,140 endangered star tortoises were confiscated on an inbound flight from Bangladesh in September.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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