Smuggler found with 13 percent of world’s critically-endangered tortoise species

A 38-year-old Thai man has been arrested at a Bangkok airport trying to collect a large bag filled with some of the rarest tortoises in the world.

The bag contained 54 ploughshare tortoises and 21 radiated tortoises, both of which are endemic to Madagascar and assessed as critically endangered. The ploughshare tortoise is considered among the rarest species in the world, with just 400 individuals believed to be found in the wild.

One the same day, Cites officers (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) also found 300 Indian star tortoises and 10 black pond turtles in an unclaimed bag. The former is prized as an exotic pet, despite being protected in India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.


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