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Smuggler arrested in Indonesia with over 2,000 endangered turtles

AFP  |  Jayapura (Indonesia) 

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.

Authorities in province said they seized 2,227 of the palm-sized turtles which were stuffed into boxes on a boat docked in the remote town of

"Officers saw a carrying three big boxes and got suspicious," police said late Thursday.

"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 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 shipment was headed.

The pig-nosed -- which has a distinctive snout-like nose and webbed feet -- is only found in and New Guinea, an island shared between New Guinea and Indonesia, and is protected under Indonesian conservation laws.

Some species are popular in and elsewhere in as or for use in traditional medicine.

In 2014, Indonesian officials rescued more than 8,000 baby pig-nosed turtles hidden in suitcases and thought to be destined for and

This year, smugglers were arrested in neighbouring 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.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 13:25 IST