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Sunday
Mar302008

Royal Thai Police raid Bangkok wildlife market

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Ploughshare Tortoises are severely threatened by illegal trade, but appear to be increasingly available in the Southeast Asian pet trade, like this individual seized in Malaysia. Authorities are urged to take serious action against anyone trading in this species. © Chris R. Shepherd/TRAFFIC Southeast Asia  Click photo to enlarge
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—The Royal Thai Police have seized 14 Slow Loris, an otter, 96 birds (including 24 owls), several tortoises and marine products (including 480 hard corals, 187 soft corals, 22 sea fans and 22 Giant Clams) during a raid on  Chatuchak market, popularly known as JJ Market, the largest wildlife market in Bangkok.

The raid on 22 March targeted dealers selling wildlife in contravention of Thailand's Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act 1992, or in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  

The seized tortoises included 18 Radiated and 3 Ploughshare Tortoises from Madagascar (both listed in CITES Appendix I, meaning international trade in these species is banned).

Ploughshare Tortoise is one of the world’s rarest tortoise species.

“The seizure of the Ploughshare Tortoises is especially significant,” said Chris Shepherd, Senior Programme Officer with TRAFFIC.

“These tortoises are endemic to Madagascar and are severely threatened with extinction, largely due to illegal collection for the international pet trade.  

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Madagascan and African species of tortoises on sale in Chatuchak Market, Februrary 2008  Click photo to enlarge © James Compton / TRAFFIC
“We are seeing an increasing number of tortoises from Madagascar for sale in pet markets in Thailand, as well as in Indonesia and Malaysia.”

In September 2007, two Ploughshare Tortoises and 37 Radiated Tortoises were seized by Malaysian authorities at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, en route from Thailand to Penang.

“We encourage the authorities to increase their efforts to end this trade and to prosecute anyone found trading in these rare species to the full extent of the law.”

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