1,500 Live Turtles Discovered Duct Taped Inside Suitcase At Airport

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MANILA, Philippines-More than 1,500 live exotic turtles have been found wrapped in duct tape and packed into suitcases at an airport in the Philippines.

More than 1,500 turtles were discovered in several bags at an airport in the Philippines.

They've been turned over the officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who monitor wildlife trafficking.

Officers said the cases had been brought on a flight from Hong Kong by a passenger from the Philippines and left unclaimed in the arrivals area of Manila's Ninoy Aquino worldwide airport.

"Our staff were taking care not to hurt them because duct tape was used to immobilise the turtles".

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Some of the animals were of the Sulcata Tortoise species - which are recognised as vulnerable on the IUCN's Red list of Threatened species.

Antiporda added the Philippines would ask Chinese authorities whether they wanted to take back the confiscated turtles which were being quarantined and treated in Manila.

The 1,529 exotic turtles were worth an estimated 4.5 million Philippine pesos on the black market - that's about $86,750 USA dollars. The haul included 250 geckos, 254 corals, and other reptiles, it said.

According to Philippine law, Illegal wildlife trading is punishable for up to two years in prison and a almost $4,000 fine. They are also captured and kept as pets in Europe and North America.

The large seizure comes just one week after smugglers were arrested in Malaysia with 3,300 endangered pig-nosed turtles aboard a boat.