Animal smugglers thwarted on arrival from Pozzallo

The authorities found live wild animals, including six tortoises, a frog and caterpillars, after searching a vehicle of two Maltese nationals who had just arrived on the ferry from Sicily

A frog was among several animals seized by customs and police officials (Photo: ERA)
A frog was among several animals seized by customs and police officials (Photo: ERA)

Two Maltese nationals were stopped by customs and police officials after live wild animals were found in their possession upon arrival from Sicily.

The pair came to Malta via the ferry from Pozzallo and were stopped on Tuesday night.

Three of the six tortoises found in the car that had just arrived on the ferry from Sicily (Photo: ERA)
Three of the six tortoises found in the car that had just arrived on the ferry from Sicily (Photo: ERA)

The animals included six tortoises, a frog, spiders, dragonfly larvae, caterpillars and a water beetle.

The Environment and Resources Authority, which is helping in the investigation said the importation and possession of these animals is restricted by domestic, international and European law.

Caterpillars were also seized in the raid (Photo: ERA)
Caterpillars were also seized in the raid (Photo: ERA)

“The species in question presented a threat to Malta’s biological identity, since these could potentially establish populations in the wild or interbreed with locally occurring species,” ERA said, adding the animals were seized for further investigations.

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