228 tortoises intercepted at airport
Aug 10, 2006
By Ochieng? Oreyo
The Kenya Wildlife Service is holding 228 tortoises intercepted at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
The leopard tortoises (geochelone pardalis) were being exported as shells from Uganda to Thailand. However, Uganda?s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries had cleared them as live.
The ministry had certified 250 tortoises for export. According to travel documents, the "shells" were cleared for export on July 13, at Entebbe Airport and were intercepted at JKIA on August 6.
Packed in 17 metallic boxes, the unaccompanied consignment was being transported by Smith Ewa Maku to Attiya Sriduang in Bangkok, Thailand, documents showed.
Nobody has been arrested in connection with the export. Suspicious Customs officials and Kenya Airways personnel alerted KWS when they saw droppings from the packages.
The tortoises will be held at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. KWS Communications Officer Kabukuru Gichuki on Wednesday said there was "an anomaly" in the export, as the reptiles were not accompanied by a valid trade license.
The animals? export license issued by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species expired on July 16.