349 red-listed tortoises seized in central Vietnam

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Forest rangers and police in the central province of Nghe An Wednesday confiscated 349 law-protected tortoises which were being transported illegally.


The reptiles, including the yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalei), were found in a freezer truck on the National Way 1A, police said.


Driver Nguyen Quoc Toan, 37, said he was hired by Huynh Thi Tam of Nghi Loc District to bring the tortoises, weighing 1,490 kilograms in total, to the northern province of Quang Ninh.


On Thursday, Tam presented the documents showing that the animals belonged to Phan Thi Thanh Thuy in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long.


The documents were supposedly verified by Vinh Long's forest protection agency on April 18.


However, Le Xuan Dinh, an official with the Nghe An forest rangers, said the documents were illegal.


The case is being investigated futher, police said.

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