Ten people have been arrested for suspected animal trafficking after 1,500 tortoises and 80 caimans were discovered on a boat in northern Colombia. The animals are both on the South American country’s endangered wildlife list.
Police stopped the boat on a river in the Mahates region, which is full of lakes and swamps, and is reportedly where the animals were also caught, said Bogota daily El Espectador and Spain's EFE agency.
The authorities added that the animals were most probably being trafficked for consumption: tortoises are considered a delicacy and were likely headed for a nearby region, while the caiman may have been destined for China.
María Claudia García, an official from the Environment Ministry, was quoted as saying that wildlife trafficking was second only to drug trafficking in terms of profits.
The animals were handed back over to an environmental agency called Cardique, who cared for them and released them back into the wild. On average, Colombian authorities save 160 animals from trafficking daily.