More than 10% of the world's population of ploughshare tortoises were found in the man's suitcase.
The botched smuggling attempt took place at an airport in Bangkok and included 54 of the critically endangered tortoises along with 21 similarly endangered radiated tortoises. With only 400 ploughshare tortoises thought to exist, the haul being smuggled through represented more than a tenth of their entire species. The smuggler had intended to sell the exotic creatures as pets.
Wildlife from Madagascar is increasingly popular on the black market with more than 4,300 tortoises of various species being recovered by Thai authorities in one airport alone over the last three years.
"A day after a wildlife trade conference in Bangkok, Thailand, authorities caught a man attempting to smuggle a bag full of tortoises shipped from Madagascar."
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