87 Rare Animals Seized by Airport Authorities in Luggage Bust


The smuggling of rare wild animals continues to be a problem for countries across South and Southeast Asia. Thailand in particular, which borders four countries, has seen plenty of illegal wildlife trafficking in recent years, and customs officials at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok just made a massive bust containing some eye-catching critters. 

On March 4, six Indian nationals were arrested after customs officers found a total of 87 reptiles and mammals in their luggage bound for Mumbai. This included several chameleons, snakes, bats, and monkeys, and even some rare animals like a red panda, monitor lizard, and a Sulawesi bear cuscus. The red panda specifically was a troubling find, as it’s a designated endangered animal due to its depleting natural habitat. Photos from customs at the airport showed that some animals were wrapped in papers and others were kept in plastic containers. 

“There is a policy for the Customs Department to be strict in preventing and suppressing crimes related to illegal imports and exports of goods that are subject to taxes, illegal items, [and] prohibited items,” the agency said of the ongoing efforts in a social media post. “Therefore, [Customs Department director-general Theerat Attanawanit] urged officials to increase strictness in checking imports into and exports from the [country] that are at risk of illegal activity.”

According to NBC News, rare animals such as these are often in high demand in Asian countries like China, Myanmar, and Thailand. They’re often used in traditional medicine or consumed directly. 

Now, after a long, strange trip, the animals have a new lease on life. 

You Might Also Like