Thai officials arrest 6 for trying to smuggle 87 wild animals in luggage

Thai officials arrest 6 for trying to smuggle 87 wild animals in luggage
via Thai Customs Department
Michelle De Pacina
March 7, 2024
Thailand’s Customs Department arrested six Indian nationals at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle 87 wild animals, including a red panda and cotton-top tamarin monkeys, out of the country.
Violating laws: The individuals, aged 29 to 56, are accused of attempting to smuggle the live animals without proper declaration and violating several laws, including the animal disease control and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The animals: According to the department, the animals, which were discovered hidden in the suspects’ checked luggage, were headed for Mumbai, India. The animals included birds, snakes, lizards, monkeys, squirrels, frogs, iguanas, bats, rats, a red panda, a fishing cat and a Sulawesi bear cuscus. Images released by the Thai Customs Department shows the animals stored in wicker baskets, plastic tubs and fabric bags within large. wheeled suitcases.
via Thai Customs Department
What’s next: The seized animals will reportedly be transported to the Thai Wildlife Department for recovery and rehabilitation. The suspects, who have been arrested in Bangkok, face a maximum of 10 years in jail if or when found guilty. 
Illegal wildlife trafficking: Thailand is known to be a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trafficking, with smugglers often selling animals in China, Vietnam and India in recent years.
The global wildlife trafficking industry has reportedly become the fourth largest illicit trade, estimated to be worth between $100 billion and $150 billion annually. Despite decades of conservation efforts, the trade persists and is interconnected with various forms of organized crime, including weapons and narcotics smuggling, as well as terrorism.
 
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