Baby tortoises which grow VERY big found in suitcase!
Police in Spain got quite a surprise when they opened a suitcase at Barcelona airport and found 76 live baby tortoises of the world’s largest species!
They had travelled from the Seychelles on a plane with a stopover in Doha (Qatar) and were detected when security scanners picked out some strange objects in an Italian man’s luggage.
Stunned customs officers found they were young “Aldabrachelys gigantea” which can grow to a weight of 250 kilograms and have a life expectancy of 165 years.
Each of the babies could have fetched up to 2,000 euros on the black market, making the total haul worth around 150,000 euros.
This is the first time there has been such a seizure of tortoises from the Seychelles in Spain.
Although some of the creatures were in poor shape and others had dented shells, all 76 somehow survived the long journey without much air or water. Half were taken to Barcelona zoo and the others to a wildlife centre.
Experts said the babies measured no more than seven centimetres with their ages ranging from newly-hatched to approximately three to four years.
It is hoped to eventually return the tortoises to their natural habitat.
The Italian man will be prosecuted for contravening wildlife protection laws and smuggling.