More than 1,500 turtles and tortoises found in abandoned luggage

More than 1,500 turtles and tortoises found in abandoned luggage

More than 1,500 turtles and tortoises found in abandoned luggage

The reptiles, which have a market value of more than 4.5 million pesos (€75,000), were handed over to the Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit.

Police believe the suitcases were left after the carrier found out the penalties for illegal wildlife trafficking.

"The passenger may have been informed of the vigilance of Bureau of Customs against illegal wildlife trade and its penalties", the Philippine Bureau of Customs agency said, explaining why the luggage might have been abandoned.

Over 1,500 turtles were saved from abandoned luggage at an airport in the Philippines. Authorities found several species of turtles left behind in a suitcase, including Star Tortoises, Redfoot Tortoises, Sulcata Tortoises and Red-Eared sliders.

Three of the species of turtle found are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of vulnerable species, but are frequently sold to buys around the world as exotic pets.

Some of the turtles had also been found wrapped in duct tape packed within plastic bins
Some of the turtles had also been found wrapped in duct tape packed within plastic bins

Antiporda added the Philippines would ask Chinese authorities whether they wanted to take back the confiscated turtles which were being quarantined and treated in Manila.

According to Manila airport customs chief Carmelita Talusan, the passenger fled after the customs found the tortoises through X-ray screening.

Discoveries of smuggled wildlife are not uncommon in the Philippines.

Earlier this year, Filipino customs officials found "63 Iguanas, Chameleon and Bearded Dragons".

In 2018, authorities turned over a total 560 wildlife and endangered species - including 250 geckos, 254 corals and other reptiles which were caught through air parcels, baggage and shipments.

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