Philippine customs agents seize endangered turtles

AP News
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Posted: May 11, 2011 6:46 AM
Philippine customs agents seize endangered turtles

Philippine customs officials say they have seized more than 100 endangered green sea turtles intended to be smuggled to other countries.

Deputy customs commissioner Horacio Suansing says the dead turtles were found along with rare black coral in two containers shipped from southern Cotabato city. The contraband, valued at half a million dollars, was seized Wednesday following a tip.

Green turtles grow as long as 5 feet (150 centimeters) and weigh as much as 290 pounds (130 kilograms). They are endangered because of overharvesting of both eggs and adults.

Suansing says the illegal trade is fueled by demand from collectors and the curio trade.

He says the shipper will face charges of violating laws forbidding collection and sale of sea turtles and corals.