There were a high number of exotic turtles were seized by the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 yesterday, a number of which be millions worth when sold.
The turtles were found inside four pieces of luggage totaling to around 1,500 turtles left behind by an unnamed Filipino who entered the country via flight PR311 of Philippine Airlines from Hong Kong. The four pieces of luggage had been examined and X-rayed by airport personnel and was left unclaimed in the arrivals area.
A total of 1,529 turtles of numerous species including Sulcata Tortoise, Redfoot Tortoise, Star Tortoise, and Red-eared Slider. Most were revealed to be wrapped in duct tape. The turtles are worth about PHP4.5 million (US$87,017.74), the BOC elaborated.
The agency has since turned over the species over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit.
Wildlife trafficking has long been attributed to Hong Kong because of its free trade port of which last September authorities uncovered that smuggling of endangered species including turtles was rising despite tougher penalties.