Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The Hong Kong government will be returning to the Philippines a shipment of turtles that was found to have been smuggled out of the country and seized by Hong Kong authorities last February.
Twenty Philippine pond turtles (Siebenrockiella leytensis) and 16 Asian box turtles (Cuora amboinensis) were intercepted and confiscated in favor of the Philippines by Hong Kong's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said in a letter to Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Angel Honrado.
According to Nilo Tamoria, regional executive director of the DENR-National Capital Region, the turtles were smuggled from the Philippines to Hong Kong last February 8.
The Philippine pond turtle and Asian box turtle are indigenous to the Philippines.
Both species are protected by Republic Act No. 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act), Tamoria said.
The smuggled turtles, which are expected to arrive in Manila on Friday, will be turned over to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.