Breaking News: Attempted Smuggling of Around 200 Galapagos Tortoises out of Baltra Island; 10 Died

Press Release: Baltra Airport Caught Cargo of About 200 Galapagos Tortoises

In the morning hours of Sunday, March 28, Galapagos Ecological Airport personnel detected a shipment of 185 turtles that were intended to be sent to the city of Guayaquil. X-ray machines located in the cargo terminal, along with the training of its operator, were able to determine that there were irregularities in the suitcases that had been declared as carrying “souvenirs.”

The age of the turtles would not exceed 3 months of life and their carapace is extremely young, so it is still very difficult to determine exactly which island they come from. The species were wrapped in plastic so, 10 of them did not survive. The work was coordinated by members of the Galapagos National Park.

There are no detainees yet. The arrival of the national and environmental police for the respective investigations is pending; however, the departure of those carrying the cargo from Puerto Ayora to the Balta airport has been prevented, as well as preventing the use of their cell phones.

In order to protect the life of the turtles, a special place has been arranged within the airport facilities so that the species can move safely.

The Galapagos Ecological Airport is a signatory of the Buckingham Palace Declaration, which seeks to combat species trafficking in the world, for which it constantly trains its personnel and endeavors to notify the relevant police authorities about suspected illegal wildlife shipments and their associated products and, where possible, refuse to accept or ship such shipments.

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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