Man tries to smuggle tortoises disguised as desserts through Berlin airport

Man tries to smuggle tortoises disguised as desserts through Berlin airport
The man placed the tortoises in a baked goods box. Photo: Hauptzollamt Potsdam
A man tried to bring three tortoises into Germany by disguising them as sweet treats.

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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