Large wooden boxes go in and out of customs hundreds of times a day. Customs officers often collect smugglers' food, money, medicines and other contraband. While most of the cargo was not unusual, customs officials were quite surprised when they came across some of the extremely large cargo that came to Hong Kong International Airport.
After closer inspection
The size of the containers prompted customs officers to check the shipping labels and further inspect the boxes. After opening them, the officers found hundreds of plastic containers lined up inside. Each container was filled with live turtles. The authorities were able to retrieve over 600 of the rare turtles.
The Dangers of Turtle Trafficking
Unfortunately, pork noses are a highly sought after species. Because these small turtles fit into your palm, they are easy to hide. Although Indonesian law protects them technically, smugglers still succeed in illegally transferring countless turtles. Today, the International Union for Nature Conservation leads the pork turtle as vulnerable and restricts the trade in wildlife.
Meet this little turtle
The tern is found only in Australia and New Guinea. Indonesian conservation laws ensure their protection. This freshwater turtle has unique floating feet, and they are named for their snout-like nose. Traditional eastern medicine uses pork noses turtles in concoctions. But that's not all: humans also consider them as pets or even eat them as a delicacy.
The rescue mission
In partnership with government officials and volunteers from the community, rescuers set out to bring the turtles back to Papua New Guinea. Workers from Kadoorie Farm and the Hong Kong Botanical Garden, Indonesia's International Animal Rescue and the World Wildlife Fund have coordinated efforts to restore turtles to their natural habitat. All in all, the trip took 3 days by car and boat.
Your new home
To end their journey, the turtles and savior were taken by boat Like the riverbased in Papua New Guinea. Here they could stand on the shore and release the turtles safely into the wild. Safe from smugglers, these turtles can now live long and healthy.