Sunday, 31 March 2013

Largest ever seizure of Critically Endangered Ploughshare Tortoises made in Thailand


Hundreds of protected tortoises found at Bangkok Airport
March 2013. Just a day after the close a global wildlife trade conference here in Bangkok, 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.

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.

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

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.

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