Cambodian police seize 102 tortoises, 17 pythons

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Phnom Penh, March 29 (IANS) Cambodian authorities on Tuesday seized 102 elongated tortoises and 17 pythons from a truck which was on its way to Vietnam.

Police stopped the truck some 20 km from capital Phnom Penh as it was heading south towards the Vietnamese border, and discovered the endangered tortoises stacked inside the boot alongside the massive black-and-tan coiled pythons, EFE news reported.

The driver claimed not to know what he was transporting, according to a local witness.

Wildlife officers have brought the animals to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center in Takeo province.

The elongated tortoises, native to southeast Asia, are typically found in humid upland forest areas and used to be plentiful but are now under threat as they are poached for pets and food, according to the World Wildlife Fund in Cambodia.

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