109 Live Animals Rescued From Luggage At Thai Airport; Captive Animal Trade At Work

In our last post we talked about Armenian bears rescued from display at gas stations and restaurants. Today comes news of alleged animal smugglers busted in Thailand.

Two Indian women were arrested when authorities allegedly found 109 live animals in their luggage. The animals were confiscated. Thai officials did not say what was done with them.

Pangolins are sometimes confused with armadillos as they both eat insects. Pangolins live in Asia and have a distinct scaly appearance.

The two women were headed to Chenmai, India. They allegedly had 50 lizards, 20 snakes, 35 turtles 2 white porcupines and 2 armadillos secreted in two suitcases, according to news accounts. The baggage x-ray machines at the Bangkok Airport discovered the smuggling attempt. Thai conservation officials said the two women were detained. They are facing charges of violating at least three Thai laws.

Although two of the animals were identified as armadillos, they were most likely pangolins. Armadillos are found in North, Central and South America. Pangolins live in Asia and have a similar insect based diet. Theyt are scaly in appearance. Martial arts star Jackie Chan has recently lent his name and efforts to a drive to save the pangolin from conflict with humans.

Martial arts star Jackie Chan has recently devoted time and effort in an effort to help protect pangolins, Two of the creatures were apparently seized in Thailand while allegedly being smuggled out of the country. .

The exact size of the captive wildlife trade is unclear. INTERPOL. the international police association, estimates the trade at 10-20 billion a year. Pat Craig, the Founder of The Wild Animal Sanctuary, {TWAS) says that kidnapping wildlife for the exotic trade is on par in size with drug running and gun-running.

TWAS focuses its effort on rescuing larger predators including lions, tigers, bears and leopards. TWAS has an in-depth article on the captive trade on its website.

According to the article:

“Today, these animals can be found everywhere from extravagant Las Vegas magic shows, to shopping malls, to roadside zoos, and even in people’s backyards, basements and garages. Like guns, drugs and other illegal items, law enforcement agencies are continually forced to confiscate animals from unlicensed individuals who attempt to keep them as pets. Additionally, many private collections exist in licensed facilities throughout the world – though licensing doesn’t always guarantee the proper or humane treatment of animals.”

Because of their extreme specialization cheetahs have a difficult time surviving in the wild. Leopards, lions and hyenas are dangerous enemies. Theft of cubs by humans for selfish purposes may be driving them closer to extinction in the wild. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thai officials have not said what they think the women intended to do with the animals but most of them could have ended up as exotic pets, displays, or traditional medicine specimens. TWAS and other groups are trying to bring attention to the size and scope of the trade. Capturing animals as pets and for other purposes may be driving some animals to extinction in the wild.

Published by ursusrising

long time writer and editor living in Los Angeles

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