Happy ending for rare tortoises seized from a smuggler’s bag
Posted by Miqe on May 22, 2007
ROME Several rare Egyptian tortoise eggs, whose parents were found in a smuggler’s suitcase two years ago, have been hatched successfully. The first was hatched in April, six more followed this month, and there are several more waiting to hatch, said Stefano Micarelli, the head reptile keeper at the Biopark zoo in the Italian capital. “These animals are so rare that we are trying to breed them so we can have a stock of these animals in captivity,” he said.
The Egyptian tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) and, as an Appendix I reptile, many of which are threatened with extinction, is afforded the highest protection.
The hatchlings’ parents were discovered when rangers working at Leonardo da Vinci airport became suspicious after they noticed a passenger waiting impatiently for his bags after a flight from Libya in 2005. They stopped to check his luggage and found 275 of the rare tortoises packed inside a bag. (AP)