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Living up to their good luck: Rare Philippine turtles smuggled to Hong Kong returned to Manila
MANILA, Philippines (AP) ' Turtles represent longevity and good luck, and that's certainly true for 18 rare smuggled turtles that were returned from Hong Kong to their native Philippines.
Philippine Wildlife Bureau head Mundita Lim says the pond turtles were confiscated at the Hong Kong airport in February from a Chinese student, along with 13 more common box turtles.
The pond turtles are found only in forests on Palawan Island southwest of Manila. Only about 120 remain in the wild. Lim says they are prized as novelty pets or food.
Philippine officials took the unprecedented step of traveling to Hong Kong and retrieving the turtles because they are so rare. The governor of Palawan received the turtles at the Manila airport Friday.