Monday, 26 May 2014

Alarming rise in Black Spotted Turtle trade across Asia

Posted by: Elizabeth John / posted on May 23rd, 2014

Illegal international trade of the Black Spotted Turtle in Asia has escalated over recent years and immediate action is required to stem the flow, a new TRAFFIC report has found.

The attractive spotted visage of the Black Spotted Turtle, Geoclemys hamiltonii, may well be its downfall. The species is known to be traded for meat, medicine and pets, although TRAFFIC’s research attributes the sudden rise in demand to the exotic pet trade.

Over 1,960 animals were seized between January 2008 and March 2014. Of these, 95 per cent were confiscated in the final 15 months of that period.

A seizure of another 230 turtles on May 14th underscored the seriousness of the threat. Royal Thai Customs officers in Suvarnabhumi International Airport found the turtles packed in unclaimed bags which had come in on a flight from Kolkata, India.

Seizure information indicates that shipments of the turtles from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan transit through South-east Asian hubs such as Bangkok and are destined for East Asia, in particular Hong Kong. Most of the seizures are from passengers using commercial airlines concealing animals in their baggage. The majority of couriers caught were arrested but only two of the 22 cases recorded resulted in successful prosecutions.

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