Customs seize biggest haul of start tortoises
Sri Laka Customs arrested a passenger at the Bandaranaike International Airport with 124 tortoises in his possession.
The batch of 124 star tortoises, each with a street value of nearly USD 1,000 was detected as they were being loaded onto a flight leaving Colombo international airport today, customs spokesman Leslie Gamini has told AFP.
“We confiscated the animals and handed them over to the national zoo,” Gamini said. “We have also imposed a fine of 300,000 rupees (USD 2,300) and investigations are underway.”
According to the Customs Department the passenger a Sri Lankan and a resident of Negombo, was about to leave for Malaysia with the tortoises in his baggage this morning when he was arrested.
It is learnt that yesterday’s detection led to the biggest haul of live star tortoises since customs seized 41 in 1997. They are usually smuggled out to be sold as pets.