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450 Malaysia snakes, tortoises escape cooking pot

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia >> Malaysian authorities have rescued some 450 endangered cobras and tortoises headed for cooking pots in Thailand.

Celescoriano Razond, Malaysia’s wildlife deputy enforcement director, says officials confiscated 302 Asiatic cobra, 145 tortoises and a macaque monkey Thursday from a house in northern Kedah state, near the Thai border.

He says two men have been arrested and could be charged for being in possession of protected wildlife, which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail and a fine.

He said Friday that an initial probe showed the animals were being smuggled out of the country to be peddled to restaurants in Thailand specializing in exotic meat.

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