300 tortoises seized at airport

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The Independent Online

Tortoises may move slowly, but even a little movement can be a lifesaver. Customs staff at Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport noticed something stirring in two bags and discovered 301 tortoises hidden amid shredded paper.

Found taped up inside the sacks were 285 radiated tortoises, 15 spider tortoises and one Madagascar tortoise – all endangered species indigenous to Madagascar, said Loo Kean Seong, a senior official of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Two slabs of cannabis weighing about 2kg were also discovered, said Nordin Kadir, narcotics chief of central Selangor state, where the airport is located.

The bags were abandoned by a passenger who arrived from Mauritius, he said. The passenger walked out and escaped after seeing customs officials screening luggage. The tortoises are due to be returned to Madagascar.