Malaysian custom officials arrested two Indian nationals who attempted to smuggle 5,255 baby turtles at the Kuala Lumpur airport last June 20, according to The Star. They were coming from Guangzhou, China, and were on their way to India.
Senior customs official Zulkurnain Mohamed Yusof said the turtles were valued at around $12,700. The turtles were placed in 32 small boxes stashed in their suitcases. Expectedly, not all of them survived the trip.
Importing turtles without a license is a chargeable offense under the Customs Act 1967 and is punishable by fine or imprisonment of up to five years. Permits are essential because of potential diseases the turtles might carry, such as salmonella.
If you haven’t seen a baby red-eared slider turtle, they’re pretty adorable. These thousands of baby red-eared sliders might have been sold for their meat, if not as pets, according to AP News. Red-eared slider turtles are common pets and are actually part of the world’s worst invasive species.
While the smugglers would likely face some jail time, the surviving turtles will be sent to the Wildlife and National Parks Department in Perhilitan.