87 Exotic Animals Found Hidden Inside Luggage in Bangkok

by Anthony Losanno
Thai Red Panda

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Six Indian Nationals attempted to smuggle 87 rare and exotic animals from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM). The illegally transported animals included a red panda, a cotton-top tamarin monkey, a fishing cat, and a Sulawesi bear.

Bangkok Market

We were shocked when in Bangkok years ago to see squirrels, rabbits, dogs, cats, birds, and other animals for sale. Some of them were clearly drugged and they were freely sold with little regard for the animals’ well being.

Thai officials detected the animals and arrested these passengers. They violated multiple Thai laws and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This regulates the international trade of wild plant and animal species. The six face up to 10 years in jail or a hefty fine if found guilty. Thailand’s Customs Department stated that lizards, snakes, birds, squirrels, and bats were packed in boxes and suitcases. The red panda was stuffed into a basket. Red pandas are fighting for survival with around 10,000 in the world and only 2,500 in the wild.

The Thailand Customs Department released a statement that reads:

We have found out that the animals include 29 black throat monitor lizards, 21 snakes, 15 birds, including parrots – a total of 87 animals. The animals were hidden inside the luggage.”

AeroXplorer reports that Thailand is sadly a hotspot for the illegal trade of animals. TRAFFIC is a private organization that is campaigning against illegal wildlife trade. It reports that 1,346 seizures of wildlife and related products were reported between 2009 and 2016 across 136 countries.

Anthony’s Take: It’s sad to see animals mistreated and smuggled. Many don’t survive and those that do rarely lead good lives. The demand for these animals is there and hopefully authorities will continue to crack down.

(Image Credits: Thai Customs and StockByM.)

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