Protected Tortoises Confiscated in Bajakovo
On February 19, 2006 at the Bajakovo border crossing, the Inspection of Nature Protection of the Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the custom officers, has prevented the illegal European Greek tortoises transport through the Republic of Croatia, which a Macedonian citizen tried to transport in bus with German license plate numbers, trying to smuggle them from Macedonia to Germany.
As we have been informed by the higher inspector of Nature Protection Zeljko Vukovic, who has done the inspection supervision of this illegal trade, the word is about 22 adult European Greek tortoises, which, according to the Nature Protection Law, appear on the list of the strictly protected wild animal species.
Given that this kind of tortoise appears also on the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), for their legal transport through the Republic of Croatia it would have been necessary to have an export permission of the Republic of Macedonia, which has not been presented to the Nature Protection Inspection. Therefore, the tortoises have been confiscated and transported to the State shelter for confiscated protected animals in Ruscica near Slavonski Brod.
The Inspection for Nature Protection has fined the violator with a fine of 7,000 kuna, while according to the Customs Law he has been punished with the fine of 10,000 kuna. Furthermore, a criminal proceeding of the Police Department Otok will be brought against the violator, because of customs supervision evasion.
The confiscated tortoises' total value has been estimated to 88,000 kuna. They were presumably supposed to be sold to pet shops.