Three people were sentenced by an Ecuadoran court on Friday to a year in prison for trafficking 84 giant tortoises and five golden iguanas from the Galapagos islands.
In June, the Ecuadoran Navy found the golden land iguanas in bags and the San Cristobal giant tortoises in boxes when they boarded the boat of the three traffickers. Seven of the tortoises were found dead.
The animals were being transported from the Galapagos to be traded in the city of Guayaquil, the prosecutor’s office said, adding that the criminals pleaded guilty and were also fined $29,000.
Golden iguanas can sell for up to $20,000 on the black market, while tortoises can be sold for up to $5,000 each, the office said.
The Galapagos Islands are known for their remarkable flora and fauna. In the past, it was home to fifteen species of tortoises, of which three went extinct, according to the Galapagos National Park.