Malaysia seizes endangered reptiles: reports

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16, 2010 (AFP) - Malaysian officials seized hundreds of endangered radiated tortoises, tomato frogs and chameleons days after a major wildlife bust of thousands of rare birds, reports said Friday.

Customs officials at the Kuala Lumpur international airport found the wildlife in the hand luggage of two Madagascan women, the Star daily reported.

Wildlife and National Parks department head Abdul Rasid Samsuddin told the paper they found 369 radiated tortoises, five Madagascar tortoises, 47 tomato frogs and several chameleons.

"The tortoises were bound with masking tape to prevent them from moving, while the chameleons were stuffed into socks to prevent detection," he told the Star, adding that the animals were worth 250,000 ringgit (78,000 dollars).

Malaysian police stumbled across a massive haul of endangered wildlife, including a pair of valuable birds of paradise, as they raided a warehouse of stolen cars on Wednesday.

More than 20 protected species were found in the "mini zoo" in the capital's suburbs.

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