Customs officials have found 220 turtles in three luggage bags at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. All the turtles were reported to be still alive when the officials discovered them in abandoned bags yesterday morning.
"There is no name tag on the bags," Paisarn Chuenjit said in his capacity as a senior customs official at the airport. He said the Spotted Pond Turtles were protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species). Each turtle fetches between Bt1,000 and Bt10,000 on the black market. The species is native to Bangladesh.
"We have removed the turtles and will forward them to those relevant officials who can assist with their rehabilitation," he said. He added that officials would also try to locate the suspected smugglers and press charges. The bags were left near Gate 6 at the arrival terminal.
Meanwhile, officials found a dead elephant in Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary in Loei. Its front left leg appeared to have been trapped in a gap between two rocks. There were no other signs of injuries.
"We believe the elephant accidentally slipped and one of its legs got stuck," said Watchara Thammasorn, head of the Phu Luang Elephant Nutrition Rehabilitation Project.