Royal Thai Customs have seized a bag containing 62 highly threatened Radiated Tortoises Astrochelys radiata and arrested a Malagasy national at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The bag was not picked up from the luggage carousel raising the suspicion of Customs officials who then scanned the bag to check its contents. The tortoises were discovered hidden in the foam-lined suitcase.
Officials managed to locate the suspect, a Malagasy national, who had flown from Antananarivo to Bangkok. He is under arrest and is being investigated under several sections of Thailand's Wild Animals Preservation and Protection Act 1992, Customs Act and the Animal Epidemics Act.
The Radiated Tortoise, like all of Madagascar's native tortoise species, is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meaning no international commercial trade is permitted. All are also protected under national laws in Madagascar.
The seized tortoises are now in the care of Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.