A tiger cub was discovered in a suitcase of stuffed toy tigers as a woman tried to board a plane in Bangkok, heading for Iran.
The two-month-old tiger cub had been hidden amongst a number of stuffed tiger toys and crammed into the woman’s luggage.
However officials at the airport clocked that there was a real tiger in the suitcase as it went through the x-ray machine. The tiger cub had been drugged to keep it docile.
A Thai woman was detained for questioning and claimed to have no knowledge of how a real tiger cub came to be in her suitcase.
“The woman trying to check in the oversized bag denied any knowledge of the tiger. She said she was carrying it for someone else,” Nirat Nipanand, an airport customs official in charge of tracking animal, told Reuters.
Wildlife officials were called in and the tiger cub was taken to the rescue centre of the department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation.
Chris Shepherd, South-East Asia deputy regional director for wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, said: “We applaud all the agencies that came together to uncover this brazen smuggling attempt.”
“If people are trying to smuggle live tigers in their check-in luggage, they obviously think wildlife smuggling is something easy to get away with and do not fear reprimand.
“Only sustained pressure on wildlife traffickers and serious penalties can change that.”
Tags: Tiger cub, suitcase, luggage, stuffed tiger, tiger toys, stuffed toys, Bangkok, Thailand