For the second time this month, the customs Biodiversity Protection Unit has seized a consignment of live tortoises attempted to be smuggled out to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia through Katunayake International Air Port yesterday. The little tortoises were concealed with live crabs in 07 packages exported by a company in Yakkala. There were 448 tortoises weighing 200kg and valued at Rs.405,879 according to Leslie Gamini, Customs Spokesperson . The Customs Biodiversity Unit made a similar discovery earlier in the month recovering 124 live tortoises valued at Rs.930,000 on July 3. The little tortoises were concealed in the suspect’s ‘checked’ baggage and the arrest was made at the departure lounge at Katunayake airport. These tortoises too were bound to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Raising tortoises as pets is a popular pastime in many countries and it is believed these tortoises too were smuggled to be sold as pets.
By Malaka Rodrigo. Read this Sunday’s The Sunday Times for a detailed report.
Published on TimesOnline on 29th of July – http://www.sundaytimes.lk/news-online/customs-seize-large-haul-of-live-tortoises-at-airport.html