Two days after the seizure of 9,000 baby tortoises by customs officials at the airport, shocked animal welfare activists have found that fewer than 800 have survived.

Airport officials had seized the tortoises from a passenger who had come in from Kuala Lumpur, and was attempting to exit through the green channel. Activists said the red-eared slider tortoises, which were just a few days old, were stacked one on top of another and packed into three cartons, with no provisions for aeration or food.

The tortoises had been brought by a city resident, who deals in the wholesale trade of pets.

They were handed over to State wildlife authorities