More than 100 live animals found in women’s luggage

World

Two women have been arrested after trying to smuggle 109 live animals out of Thailand in their luggage.

Officers discovered 35 turtles, 50 chameleons, 20 snakes, two white porcupines and two armadillos in their bags.

Thirty-five turtles were among the haul. The two women face up to ten years in prison after being charged under the wildlife preservation act and customs and public health laws
Credit: THAILAND'S DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL PARKS, WILDLIFE AND PLANT CONSERVATION

The pair were trying to board a Thai Airways flight to India, and suspicions were raised following what was meant to be a routine X-ray inspection.

Both have been arrested and charged with violations of Thailand’s Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, Customs Act, and Animal Epidemic Act.

An armadillo was dehydrated but alive after being rescued from one of the suitcases
THAILAND'S DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL PARKS, WILDLIFE AND PLANT CONSERVATION

The incident happened at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Monday.

According to Traffic, a non-governmental organisation that monitors the trade of wild animals, such incidents are a “serious and growing” problem.

Two women have been arrested in Thailand for allegedly attempting to smuggle at least 109 live animals in their luggage -- including porcupines, armadillos, turtles, chameleons and snakes -- as they tried to board a flight to India.  The incident  at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport
Credit:THAILAND'S DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL PARKS, WILDLIFE AND PLANT CONSERVATION

“It comprises the fourth-largest illegal trade worldwide after arms, drugs and human trafficking, and frequently links with other forms of serious crime such as fraud, money laundering, and corruption,” a March 2022 report warned.

Common motivations for wildlife smuggling include their use for food, traditional medicines, artefacts, fashion and exotic pets.

An armadillo  after being rescued from one of the suitcases
Credit: THAILAND'S DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL PARKS, WILDLIFE AND PLANT CONSERVATION

Between 2011 and 2020, Traffic’s research claims more than 70,000 wild animals – including their body parts or derivatives – were discovered at Indian airports.

And Chennai International Airport, where the arrested pair were travelling, had the highest number of wildlife seizure incidents in the country.

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