GEAPRESS –  In a city in Emilia Romagna, a house belonging to the couple of vendors, who was stopped last night by the officers of the Carabinieri Station of Golfo Aranci and of the Sezione Radiomobile, is being searched. The two were found in possession of eighty tortoises of protected species. Another seventy tortoises split in two groups were found in their home in Emilia.

The man, aged 49, and woman, aged 43, are well-known sellers and not of animals, at least officially. When stopped at the embarkation point to Livorno, they said at first they were aficionados and stated they didn’t know that those were protected species. But due to the large quantity found, their excuse didn’t stand up. 150 tortoises have been seized in total so far (between Sardinia and Emilia).

The animals found last night at the embarkation point in Golfo Aranci (7 Testudo Hermanii, 23 Testudo Marginata, 50 Emys orbicularis) were packed inside improvised caches which were put inside other bags in the trunk. However the Carabinieri heard a feeble noise and therefore decided to inspect the contents.

The conditions the poor turtles were found in were awful. Some of them were in turn placed into other sacks and in some cases the legs were tied with adhesive tape. A chilling detail: a turtle had just started laying eggs inside a bag!

Eggs stolen from the Sardinian environment, as already happened in June 2010 and found out thanks to a seizure operation coordinated by the public prosecutor’s office of the Republic of Olbia – Tempio Pausania. At that time many Italian cities were involved. Hundreds of turtles from Sardinia were trafficked by a criminal organization managed by people from Palermo (view GeaPress article). In many cities in Italy 150 animals were seized as well as the Japanese turtle broth (view GeaPress article). Among the unbelievable developments, there was the one of an aficionado in Tuscany who got a clandestine arsenal (view GeaPress article).

The yesterday’s operation, named “Ninja Turtles” by the Carabinieri of Olbia, is going on in Emilia Romagna. The turtles seized in Sardinia are being taken care of by vets and will come back into the environment from which they were taken away.

Traduzione: Gabriele Zambelli

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