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More than 1,500 turtles and tortoises found in suitcases at Manila airport

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By Angela Barnes
The reptiles were found wrapped in tape
The reptiles were found wrapped in tape   -   Copyright  The reptiles were found wrapped in tape   -   Bureau of Customs NAIA

A total of 1,529 live turtles and tortoises have been found in luggage at Manila airport in the Philippines, after being smuggled on a flight from Hong Kong.

Customs officials found them wrapped in tape in four different unclaimed suitcases, packaged in with clothes and other items. One picture shows a turtle taped up and tucked inside a trainer.

Bureau of Customs NAIA
The turtles were packaged in with various items, one was in a trainerBureau of Customs NAIA

The reptiles, which have a market value of more than 4.5 million pesos (€75,000), were handed over to the Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit.

Under the law in the Philippines, if caught, the animal traffickers face fines of up to 200,000 pesos (€3,372) and two years in jail.

The turtles had been smuggled on a flight from Hong KongBureau of Customs NAIA

The animals discovered in the suitcases included ones recognised as vulnerable on the IUCN's Red list of threatened species, such as the Sulcata Tortoise. Red-eared Slider turtles were also among them.