A woman was stopped by customs officials in Kaoshsiung on Friday on the way from Kinmen. Authorities found that she was smuggling 32 live turtles, some of which had sustained injuries in the process, UDN reported.
The woman was guided into an examination room after officers noticed suspicious behavior. The small turtles, each only 5-6 cm, were discovered stuffed in the woman’s stockings along her thighs.
The woman had 9 Asian forest tortoises and 23 elongated tortoises, both of which are endangered. Officials said that the injuries to the tortoises are minor and likely due to the fact that they were stacked in the woman’s stockings.
The woman confessed that she had two accomplices who were also smuggling wildlife. After tracking down the other two people, authorities seized seven squirrels and 240 more small tortoises.
The three will be prosecuted under the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法).
The tortoises are CITES II endangered, meaning that they are not critically endangered but may become so without conservation efforts. It is illegal to catch, raise, sell, or harass animals protected under CITES II.