Guy Abandons 1.5K Live Turtles at Airport

They were found in unclaimed suitcases
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2019 7:17 AM CST
1.5K Turtles Seized at Airport
Many of the turtles were found wrapped in duct tape.   (Bureau of Customs NAIA)

Customs officers at a Philippines airport got a surprise when they opened four abandoned suitcases: Inside were 1,529 live turtles and tortoises of assorted species, wrapped in duct tape, the BBC reports. They included rare and endangered species like star tortoises and sulcata tortoises. Officials estimate they could have been sold for $85,000, though it's not clear whether they were destined to end up as pets or food. Authorities believe the smuggler, who arrived at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport on a flight from Hong Kong, left the suitcases unclaimed after learning of stiff penalties for wildlife smuggling, the Guardian reports. If caught, the smuggler could face up to two years in prison. (American authorities caught a man with 51 turtles in his pants.)

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