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Seized tortoises are displayed during a press conference at Customs office in Sepang, Malaysia, Malaysia on Monday, May 15, 2017. Malaysian authorities say they have seized 330 exotic tortoises from Madagascar worth 1.2 million ringgit ($276,721) in the latest heist of illegal wildlife and animal parts being smuggled into the country. (AP Photo/Daniel Chan)

Malaysian authorities seized 330 exotic tortoises smuggled from Madagascar


Malaysian authorities said Monday they've seized 330 endangered tortoises that were smuggled into the country from Madagascar.

Five Ploughshare tortoises and 325 Indian Star tortoises, which were packed into five boxes and labeled as stones, arrived at Antanaviro Airport in Madagascar on Sunday, according to deputy customs director Abdull Wahid Sulong.

Indian Star tortoises
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The endangered tortoises, which are worth about $277,000, were discovered in boxes at the Kuala Lumpur airport cargo warehouse after customs officials received a tip. 

Ploughshare tortoises are a critically endangered species native to Madagascar, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. The Indian Star tortoise, which is native to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, is listed as vulnerable

Malaysian authorities seized 330 exotic tortoises smuggled from Madagascar

WATCH  | Malaysian authorities seized 330 exotic tortoises from Madagascar.

No arrests have been made so far, but importing exotic tortoises requires a special permit from Malaysia's Wildlife Department.

This, however, isn't the only recent smuggling incident at the airport. Two weeks ago, customs officials seized African pangolin scales worth $2.1 million. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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