National Geographic Daily News
Turtles found in a smuggler's luggage are seen in a bucket near Jakarta, Indonesia.

Confiscated pig-nosed turtles seen at Indonesia's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on April 1.

Photograph by Tatan Syuflana, AP

Brett Line

National Geographic News

Published April 3, 2013

Nearly 700 endangered pig-nosed turtles were confiscated at Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, on March 15, according to news reports.

Awen Supranata, the head of the Jakarta Natural Resources Center, believes the turtles were destined for Europe or Asia as part of an illegal pet trade, the Associated Press reported.

The person responsible for shipping the 687 turtles remains under investigation, Supranata told AP. (Related: "Six Bizarre Animal Smuggling Busts.")

These rare freshwater turtles can be found only in northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. Due to illegal trade, fishing, and hunting, the reptiles are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The turtles will be treated and monitored by the Jakarta Natural Resources Center before being released back into the wild.

This incident comes only days after another illegal pet trade activity was thwarted in Thailand. Two smugglers were caught at Thailand's Suvarnabhumi International Airport with 54 ploughshare tortoises. That's roughly 10 percent of the species' estimated wild population of 600, according to IUCN, which lists the tortoise as critically endangered.

Alvin Marviano
Alvin Marviano

My country Indonesia always do something illegal or destroy it's nature to get money, they don't care each other and the impact to the nature, it's so tragic

Jo B.
Jo B.

poor babies.  No wonder their existence is threatened.  So the people who have these as pets do they show them off to their friends and neighbors.  "look at the endangered species I have here in my back yard"  Who is impressed by this?

Laura Grimmer
Laura Grimmer

This is so tragic.  When will people stop being so selfish?  So many animals will become extinct, especially in the wild, if demand for rare "pets" is not stopped.  These animals will NOT be happy in some sort of confined display.  And most people do not know how to meet the needs  of exotic animals - food, health, temperature, habitat.  These poor animals mostly end up living miserable, shortened lives.  We need to protect their natural habitats and let them live free!

Pygmalion Talion
Pygmalion Talion

Wild animals live better in the wild, wish people could understand that and stop doing what ever they want with them è.é

Hunter Graham
Hunter Graham

'-' I don't like smugglers they don't care about a thing. O_O

A. Person
A. Person

This sounds just like the whole "Bieber's monkey" story all over again. I wish that morons (like Justin Bieber) would get the heck out of animals' lives and shut up. They're ruining everybody's life.


How to Feed Our Growing Planet

  • Feed the World

    Feed the World

    National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series.

See blogs, stories, photos, and news »

The Innovators Project

See more innovators »

Latest News Video

  • Mazes: Key to Brain Development?

    Mazes: Key to Brain Development?

    Mazes are a powerful tool for neuroscientists trying to figure out the brain and help us learn to grapple with the unexpected.

See more videos »

See Us on Google Glass

Shop Our Space Collection

  • Be the First to Own <i>Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey</i>

    Be the First to Own Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

    The updated companion book to Carl Sagan's Cosmos, featuring a new forward by Neil deGrasse Tyson is now available. Proceeds support our mission programs, which protect species, habitats, and cultures.

Shop Now »