In the latest report, Malaysian authorities have seized more than 5000 baby turtles from luggage at Kuala Lumpur airport. According to a statement by officials, the turtles were worth about $12,700.
Two men of Indian origin were arrested in the wake of the situation. Owning to their statement, the turtles were meant to be sold in India as pets. The number was estimated to be 5255 and the creatures were red-eared sliders, belonging to the semi-aquatic species of the turtle. According to reports, Malaysia is allegedly a major transit center in Asia for wildlife smuggling.
The two men allegedly aged 30 and 42 were flying to Kuala Lumpur from the Chinese city of Guangzhou. The men had no permits for the turtles and were arrested to the consequences last week. Owning to reports, the accused could be imposed with fine, in addition to up to five years of jail.
“This is the first such case of the year, and we are unable to state whether it involves a similar quantity or more [if compared with previous cases]. But it appears to be quite a large quantity in two suitcases found at the same time,” commented senior Malaysian customs official Zulkurnain Mohamed Yusof on the episode at a press conference on Wednesday.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, red-eared sliders are one of the most popular turtle species in the pet trade. They belong to a group of invasive species and are found in the wild in several countries around the world. Either a released by owners or an escape is attributed as reasons for their living conditions. The 5255 turtles seized at the Malaysian airport will be put under the care of wildlife officials, say reports.