Smuggled tortoises found at CVG become part of Cincinnati Zoo exhibit


CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT) — The Cincinnati Zoo has seven new exhibits, thanks to a random stop by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

CBP said that in late July, a Detroit CBP officer working a temporary duty assignment inCincinnati held a shipment from Malaysia for a routine inspection examination.

The package was manifested as porcelain dolls and was addressed to an individual in Miami Lakes, Fla., CBP said.

CBP said that when officers opened the shipment, they found a plastic container that was taped shut with ventilation holes punched through the top. The container held seven small objects concealed by newspaper bedding and individually wrapped in white cloth that was completely covered by tightly wound packing tape.

Officers realized the objects were live tortoises when they started removing the cloth on one of the objects and the animal pushed its leg through the opening.

Indian Star Tortoises are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but wildlife traders illegally exploit the species in order to meet the international demand for exotic pets,” CBP said.

The four female and three male tortoises have completed their quarantine period at the Cincinnati Zoo and are currently part of the reptile exhibit, CBP said.

Charges are being pursued against the importer, CBP said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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