109 live animals found in luggage at Bangkok airport

Two women were arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and charged with smuggling after 109 live animals were found in their luggage, Thai officials said.

Thailand’s Ministry of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said on Monday the wild animals were discovered in two suitcases after an X-ray examination.

Wildlife officials called to the scene discovered two white porcupines, two spaniels, 35 turtles, 50 lizards and 20 snakes in two pieces of luggage.

Thai authorities said the suitcases belonged to two Indian women: Nithya Raja, 38, and Zakia Sulthana Ebrahim, 24, who were to board a flight to the Indian city of Chennai.

The women are believed to have been charged with violating the Wildlife Protection and Protection Act 2019, the Animal Disease Act of 2015 and the Customs Act of 2017.

Trafficking in animals through airports has long been a problem in the region. In 2019, a man arriving in Chennai, India, from Bangkok, is said to have been arrested at the airport after customs officers found a month-old leopard in his luggage. .

A March 2022 report by TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade watchdog, says more than 70,000 native and exotic wildlife – including body parts or derivatives thereof – was detected in 140 arrests at 18 Indian airports between 2011 and 2020.

“Chennai International Airport, Tamil Nadu, recorded the highest number of wildlife seizures, followed by Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai and Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi,” the report said. report said.

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