By: Chiu Chun-chin and Evelyn Kao
Taipei, May 7 (CNA) A Malaysian tourist was caught on Sunday at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for trying to smuggle into Taiwan three angonoka tortoises, which are listed as critically endangered species by international wildlife conservation organizations and reputed to be the most expensive tortoise on earth – worth about NT$1 million (US$33,150) each.
The Malaysian man arrived at Taiwan’s main international airport via Malaysia Airlines at around 3:30 p.m. and three tortoises were found in his luggage, Taipei Customs said.
The three animals were identified as angonoka tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora), a critically endangered land tortoise species endemic to Madagascar that has been included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and is listed as one of the world’s three most threatened turtles in the World Wildlife Crime Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), according to Taipei Customs. [FULL STORY]