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ANIMALS

Man tries to smuggle tortoises disguised as desserts through Berlin airport

A man tried to bring three tortoises into Germany by disguising them as sweet treats.

Man tries to smuggle tortoises disguised as desserts through Berlin airport
The man placed the tortoises in a baked goods box. Photo: Hauptzollamt Potsdam

Customs at Schönefeld Airport in Berlin stopped the 69-year-old man who had arrived by plan from Cairo, Egypt, according to the Hauptzollamt (main customs office) Potsdam.

The 69-year-old wanted to leave the security area without declaring that he was carrying any questionable goods. However customs officers asked him to stop, and after checking, found a suspicious package in his luggage.

SEE ALSO: Customs seize falcon wearing Nazi SS hat

The package appeared to be for baked goods but the contents didn't look like the average cake or tart.

When officers asked the man what the contents were, he explained that it was chocolate. However, when the package was opened, three living Moroccan tortoises were discovered.

Since the animals are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention, they were confiscated and placed in the care of the border veterinarian.

The incident happened on March 2nd, authorities said. The Hauptzollamt said further investigations will be carried out by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.

It's not the first time passengers have tried to smuggle animals through German airports. In 2014, a 44-year-old Mexican man was arrested at Frankfurt Airport after attempting to smuggle 55 tortoises, 30 arboreal alligator lizards, four horned vipers and one spiny-tailed iguana in a single suitcase.

Meanwhile, in 2016 customs officers did a double-take at Munich airport when a suitcase belonging to a man arriving from Thailand turned out to contain the skull of an unfortunate ape.

The 650-gramme, 23-centimetre souvenir had not been properly cleaned, resulting in the grim stench that assaulted the officers' nostrils.

SEE ALSO: Customs seize stinking ape skull from traveller's luggage


 

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ANIMALS

Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains

A swan mourning the death of its companion on a German railway track held up 23 trains for almost an hour and had to be removed by firefighters using special equipment, police said.

Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains
A swan sat on the tracks, mourning its companion. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Bundespolizei/Bundespolizei

The two birds had strayed onto the track area of the high-speed line between Kassel and Göttingen in central Germany “during an excursion”, according to Kassel police.

One of the birds died, likely after getting caught in the overhead power cables, said the statement on the December 23rd incident, which was made public late on Monday.

Its companion then sat beside the body in mourning, resisting attempts by officials to lure it away and temporarily closing the line to traffic.

Firefighters with special equipment were later called in and managed to lift the dead swan and its surviving companion away from the area.

Twenty-three trains were delayed for about 50 minutes while the rescue operation took place, the police statement said.

The surviving swan was unharmed and later released onto the river Fulda, it
added.

According to Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, swans try to find a mate for life.

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