An Indian man was arrested at Bangkok’s International Airport as he prepared to board a plane with 17 live animals in his luggage, Thai wildlife officials said Wednesday, quoted by AFP.
The kingdom is notorious for trafficking wild animals, usually to major markets such as Vietnam and China, where they are used in traditional medicine.
The wildlife protection department discovered eight marmosets, a fennec (a relative of the fox), a raccoon, three iguanas, two monitor lizards, and two white pythons in plastic baskets hidden among food on Tuesday evening during an X-ray inspection of the suitcases.
“Authorities have arrested a man trying to smuggle animals into India,” said division chief Prasert Sonsatapornkul.
Abilash Annaduri, 21, was traveling from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport to Chennai in eastern India. Police arrested him on charges of wildlife trafficking.
Authorities estimated the market value of the animals, some of which do not live in the wild in Thailand, at about $2,700.
“We haven’t found any microchips on these animals, so we don’t know where they came from,” said Prasert Sonsatapornkul, who added he has noticed an increase in cases of trafficking to India.
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The recovered animals have been sent to veterinarians for examination.
In late June, two Indian women were arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport while trying to travel to Chennai with more than 100 live animals in their luggage, including 35 turtles and 50 chameleons.