A Canadian man has been fined the equivalent of $2,600 after getting caught attempting to smuggle 38 small turtles through the border by hiding them in his pants, according to Reuters. Dong Yan from Windsor, Ontario had put the creatures in plastic bags and taped them to his legs under his clothes, the country's environmental department said.
Yan had been attempting to bring the turtles from the U.S. into the southern part of Ontario in June 2014 by crossing the Niagara border but was caught by immigration officials. He was convicted on Feb. 17 and placed on probation of two years while also being given a fine of $3,500 CAD ($2,600), much of which will go directly to the Environmental Damages Fund.
Additionally, Yan will also have to do 50 hours of community service and is banned from owning or possessing turtles and tortoises for the next 10 years, The Toronto Sun reported. The Environment and Climate Change Department also ordered him to write a letter "suitable for publication, outlining his experience of being intercepted, charged and prosecuted for the offences in question" to be published "as the Department sees fit," according to a statement released on their website.
The turtles in questions were ringed map turtles, diamondback terrapins, three-toed box turtles, spotted turtles and red-eared sliders. The Environment and Climate Change Department said in a statement that live specimens of the reptiles are often smuggled into the country as part of the pet and food trade.
Just a few months ago, another Canadian man was caught while attempting to smuggle over 1,000 turtles and terrapins into the country, The Telegraph reported. Wildlife smuggling is a constant issue for authorities, with turtles and other reptiles becoming an increasingly popular choice due to a demand in Asia that could see rarer specimens fetching up to $2,000 each, according to The National Post.