Ukraine Finds 250 Contraband Turtles On Train

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian border guards seized 250 turtles being smuggled into the country on a train, where they had been hidden and strapped down with tape to prevent them from moving, officials said on Monday.

The turtles were seized late on Sunday at the Ukrainian-Russian border on a train from the central Asian country of Uzbekistan, the Ukrainian border guard service said in a statement.

The reptilian cargo belonged to an Uzbek conductor aboard the train, which came from the Uzbek capital Tashkent and was bound for the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.

The turtles, some of them hidden in bags, had been stashed in toilets and inside a train carriage wall.

"The turtles were initially left on the premises of the customs service to undergo veterinary control," Mykhailo Kablak, a spokesman for the regional branch of the border guard service, told AFP.

"According to preliminary information, they are all in good health and will be taken to the zoo in Kharkiv," Kablak said. He added that the smuggler had sought to sell the turtles in Ukraine.

Source: AFP