African tortoise smugglers caught
Antananarivo - An international wildlife monitoring group says police have recovered nearly 200 rare tortoises and arrested two men trying to smuggle them to Indonesia.
Traffic says the haul included 169 radiated, one spider and 26 ploughshare tortoises - all critically endangered and found naturally only on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.
The reptiles are sold as pets in southeast Asia, Traffic spokesperson Richard Thomas said.
Frontier police found the tortoises Monday in a box and large bags on the runway of Madagascar's international airport, ready to fly via Nairobi, Kenya and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The World Wildlife Fund reported smugglers rounding up 1 000 rare tortoises each week in Madagascar, with political instability fuelling the problem.