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Trafficker caught attempting to transport endangered sea turtle eggs at Vietnam airport

Trafficker caught attempting to transport endangered sea turtle eggs at Vietnam airport

Thursday, July 13, 2023, 10:08 GMT+7
Trafficker caught attempting to transport endangered sea turtle eggs at Vietnam airport
Five round objects suspected to be olive ridley sea turtle eggs that were found in the carry-on luggage of a passenger slated to board a flight to exit Con Dao Island off Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Archived

Airport authorities on Con Dao Island off southern Vietnam have stopped a female passenger from illegally transporting four eggs of endangered sea turtles to the mainland.

An investigation showed that four out of five round objects in a carry-on bag belonging to passenger Do Thi L.H. were olive ridley sea turtle eggs, an official told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday.

A DNA assessment of the eggs was conducted by the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology following the shipment of the five suspicious round objects sent by police on Con Dao off southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.

On June 12, while screening carry-ons bound for mainland Vietnam, the aviation security team at Co Ong Airport on Con Dao discovered five suspicious items stored in the hand luggage of H., raising suspicions that they might have been olive ridley sea turtle eggs.

H., born in 1975 and residing in northern Bac Ninh Province, was slated to board her return flight to the mainland that day.

Officials logged a report of the case and proceeded with a professional examination of the suspicious objects.

Officials seal five round objects suspected to be olive ridley sea turtle eggs that were found in the carry-on luggage of a passenger slated to board a flight to exit Con Dao Island off Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Supplied

Officials seal five round objects suspected to be olive ridley sea turtle eggs that were found in the carry-on luggage of a passenger slated to board a flight to exit Con Dao Island off Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Supplied

Four of the suspicious objects were confirmed to be olive ridley sea turtle eggs, while the identification of the fifth suspicious object was inconclusive as its DNA sequencing returned no results.

A Con Dao official said on Wednesday afternoon that a further investigation and legal processes were underway.

Olive ridley sea turtles are a precious, rare, and endangered species that is legally protected. 

It is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.

In recent years, authorities on Con Dao have detected and taken legal action against numerous cases involving the storage and transportation of olive ridley sea turtle eggs and meat.

It is estimated that each year, between May and October, over 10 beaches on the islands of Con Dao support the nesting activities of approximately 350-400 female olive ridley sea turtles.

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Bao Anh - Dong Ha / Tuoi Tre News

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