Endangered Red Panda Among 87 Animals Found Inside Luggage During Bust At Bangkok Airport

Photos by: Thai Customs Department’s Facebook 

An endangered red panda was discovered among 87 animals inside luggage at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand. Six individuals from India were apprehended for attempting to transport the live animals out of the country. These alleged smugglers, along with the animals, were en route to Mumbai, India, according to a statement from Thailand’s Customs Department on Wednesday.

The other species of wildlife that were discovered in multiple pieces of luggage at the airport, include chameleons, snakes, birds, lizards, squirrels, bats, monkeys, a fish tiger, a Sulawesi bear cuscus, a frog, and a mouse.

Images released by Thailand’s Customs Department showed at least eight suitcases in which animals were trapped in baskets, bags, and plastic containers concealed within the suspects’ checked luggage. According to officials, the animals are classified as “CITES-listed,” indicating they are threatened by international trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Thailand is known as one of Southeast Asia’s most biodiverse nations, boasting numerous rare species of mammals, as well as a variety of rare flora and fauna. This is why Thailand is the epicenter of illegal wildlife trafficking and trade.

Over the years, Thai customs officials have conducted numerous seizures of CITES-protected wildlife, including approximately 10,000 turtles and tortoises, nearly 6 tons of pangolins, and an estimated 7 tons of ivory that have been seized by agents between 2014 and 2017, as reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Meanwhile, if the suspects are found guilty of wildlife smuggling, the six individuals may face up to 10 years in jail or a heavy fine.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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