Cobras, turtles saved from cooking pots

2012-05-05 10:51

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian wildlife authorities have seized hundreds of cobras and turtles being smuggled out of the country in a shipment of papayas, headed for cooking pots in the region, an official said on Saturday.

Jamalun Nasir Ibrahim, head of the wildlife and national parks department on Penang island told AFP authorities raided a container being driven into the state's air cargo complex early on Thursday after hearing "hissing noises".

"The 04:00 raid at the cargo complex netted some 555 cobras and 171 turtles and according to the manifest, these animals, which were hidden among papayas from northern Kedah state, were being shipped to Hong Kong," he said.

"If they had succeeded, the snakes and turtles would likely have gone to dining tables across the region," Jamalun added.

He said that the driver of the container had been arrested and that investigations were ongoing.

Demand for exotic dishes

Jamalun said the monocled cobras could each fetch 200 to 800 ringgit ($65 to $260) while the giant Asian pond turtles would likely sell for 200 ringgit. All the animals were alive when seized and would be sent to a nearby zoo.

He said a licence and a certificate of origin was needed to export or trade in both species as they were listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

Despite efforts by Southeast Asian authorities to crack down on animal smuggling, the practice still persists in the region, posing a threat to endangered species, activists say.

Last October, authorities seized nearly 450 protected snakes and turtles - many already dead - following a raid on a house in Kedah state.

Malaysia has pledged to fight wildlife smuggling, which activists say is rampant due to regional demand for exotic dishes, pets, or traditional medicines derived from animals.

  • robbieyahu - 2012-05-05 11:20

    so glad that they rescued these animals, even if they are sent to a zoo, but hopefully they could be released into the wild later (hope-so)but the saddest part is that they were caught for the reason of eating them .. let me be very frank ...a SNAKE does NOT TASTE BETTER THAN A FRUIT !!! we humans have fallen into a very evil state because our parents and friends taught us to acquire the taste for these animals. (An acquired taste often refers to an appreciation for a food or beverage that is UNLIKELY to be enjoyed by a person who has not had substantial exposure to it!!!

  • Florence - 2012-05-05 12:05

    Mention one creature that is not an exotic dish for Chinese people? Answer is zilch, nadir, 0, zero. Teacher: 'Good class'...

  • Martha - 2012-05-05 12:53

    This is the problem with these people. They eat everything until nothing is left. They are like locust. They don't give a sh*t about anyting. Whale hunting. Rhino Horns, Elephat Tusks, snakes, turtles...what the f**K is wrong with them?? Payback is a b*tch sometimes, even in the form of a tsunami...aholes.

      Gerhard - 2012-05-05 13:39

      I spend my holidays there. They are so poor they eat deep fried tarantulas. rats, baby turtles, giant snails etc.

      Florence - 2012-05-05 15:26

      Look they r not the only ones affected by poverty stricken situation. Africa is not excluded or rated any better in this category especially up north. These people are just 100 percent carnivores.

      donovan.hendricks.7 - 2012-05-05 15:31

      Martha as Gerhard correctly remarked,because of poverty and wars these people were forced to eat everything that move.its starting to happen in Zim too.

  • Ricky Naidoo - 2012-05-06 09:01

    You people talking about poverty is the reason behind this are dumb. Read the article properly. It states that the snakes and turtles could fetch between 60$ to 260$. If its the poor who's going to eat these, how could they afford it? Really, people jump to conclusions too darn easily these days.

  • gailcarolynhayes - 2012-05-06 10:46

    Do you know that you can buy live baby turtles as keyrings in the far east as well. They are sealed in some heavy plastic and stay alive in there for some time before dying agonising deaths?

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