Thai officials have confirmed the seizure of close to $5 million worth of rhino horns that were discovered during a random luggage check by custom agents at Bangkok’s main airport. The confiscated horns reportedly weighed in at nearly 110 pounds.
“It’s the biggest confiscation of rhino horns in 5 to 10 years,” said Somkiat Soontornpitakkool, director of Thailand’s Wild Fauna and Flora Protection division.
Experts who examined the smuggled horns, which they described as “unusually large and pristine,” believe they were severed from the rhinos after they were killed.
The rhino horns were found in luggage sent from Ethiopia to Thailand, which “has become a major transit point for the trade in endangered species to other Asian countries,” according to Reuters.
The luggage is believed to belong to two Thai women who fled the scene and warrants are now out for their arrest.
Horrific stories of illegal poaching seem to be dominating the news of late; including last week’s assault that took the life of a four-year-old white rhino name things at a zoo near Paris.
According to the International Rhino Foundation, there are only an estimated 29,000 of these animals remaining in the wild. A substantial drop from the half a million reportedly in existence at the beginning of the 20th Century.
While the rhino horn trade is banned by a U.N. convention, it remains prevalent in Asian countries where some cultures use them as an ingredient for traditional medicines to treat everything from fevers to cancer. It is also believed by some to be an aphrodisiac.
Photo Credits: The Independent, Telegraph
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