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Thailand Seizes Thousands of Baby Turtles at Border Checkpoint

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Customs officers in Southern Thailand’s Tak province arrested a Thai man at a border checkpoint in Mae Sot district after they found around 9,100 turtles and tortoises hidden in his luggage.

The haul of tortoises was being smuggled from Myanmar to Thailand and was destined for pet collectors in Bangkok.

The director of the Wildlife and Plant Protection, Prasert Sornsathapornku, said that the seized tortoises included about 9,000 Japanese turtles and about 100-star tortoises. The Myanmar star tortoises are an endangered species listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The Myanmar star tortoises are regarded as critically endangered species. The import, export and or commercial trading of them is completely banned. Research or breeding purposes through governmental agencies are allowed.

The Burmese star tortoise is an endangered species that is native to the dry zones of Myanmar and urgently needs protection. Due to habitat loss, but also poaching, the impressive animal with attractive patterns and bright colours was included in the IUCN Red List. endangered species and therefore deserves very careful conservation measures.

The wildlife director said star turtles can fetch up to 15,000 baht each on the black market.

The seized turtles and tortoises will be handed over to the wildlife conservation office in southern Thailand’s Tak province.

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