An Indonesian man has been arrested for trying to smuggle 2,000 endangered pig-nosed turtles, police said, marking the latest wildlife-trafficking arrest as the Southeast Asian nation battles the vast trade.
"This is protected species and they are not for sale." Following the discovery, police arrested another man believed to be involved in the trafficking bid. The port worker was not detained.
If convicted, the arrested man could face up to five years in prison and a 100 million rupiah ($7,000) fine, police said.
It was not clear where the turtle shipment was headed.
The pig-nosed turtle -- which has a distinctive snout-like nose and webbed feet -- is only found in Australia and New Guinea, an island shared between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, and is protected under Indonesian conservation laws.
This year, smugglers were arrested in neighbouring Malaysia with some 3,300 endangered turtles aboard their boat.
Indonesia, an archipelago of some 17,000 islands, is home to a kaleidoscope of exotic animals and plants, but the illegal trade in wildlife is rampant and laws aimed at providing protection are often poorly enforced.
Numerous endangered species, from the Sumatran elephant to the Javan rhino, have been driven to the brink of extinction.
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