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Rare turtles, crocodiles seized by Taipei Customs

2019/07/19 20:36:42

Taipei, July 19 (CNA) Taiwan's Customs authorities smashed a smuggling operation Thursday, seizing 53 live animals with a combined value of NT$5 million (US$161,200).

According to Taipei Customs, the rare animals, which included protected turtles and crocodiles, were seized at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in one of 15 cartons imported from Malaysia and declared as tropical fish.

Among them, two turtles were identified as astrochelys yniphora -- a critically endangered species of tortoise endemic to Madagascar commonly known as the angonoka or ploughshare tortoise -- and three crocodiles, the agency said.

The animals were taken to Taipei Zoo.

The angonoka tortoise is listed as a first category endangered animal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Trafficking of such protected animals is against the law, with violators liable to jail terms from six months to five years and fines between NT$300,000 and NT$1.5 million, it said.

(By Flor Wang and Chiu Chun-chin)
Enditem/J