PETALING JAYA: In the largest seizure of its kind in Madagascar, Customs officers there seized more than 700 critically endangered tortoises from being smuggled to Malaysia.
According to reports, the seizure of the 771 tortoises, "the size of a tennis ball," were made on Monday.
Conservation group, Turtle Survival Alliance, was quoted in the report as saying that the seizure was the largest of its kind yet.
It said most of the tortoises were "about the size of a tennis ball" and just a few years old.
On its Facebook page, the group said the tortoises were from the radiated and ploughshare species. The tortoises were found hidden in socks and childrens' diapers in two packages listed as "unaccompanied freight."
Neither the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry nor the Department of Wildlife and National Parks here could be reached for comment.
Both the species are critically endangered.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) also lists them as "Appendix I" animals, which means they can be moved only in exceptional circumstances and with a special permit.CITES' website said such a permit can only be issued if it's for non-commercial purposes and if the movement would not endanger its species' survival.