Two Indian women were recently arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport for trying to smuggle 109 live animals found in their luggage after a routine X-ray inspection.
We know what you are thinking — how in the world did two women successfully pack 109 animals into two suitcases?
The pair, Nithya Raja, 38, and Zakia Sulthana Ebrahim, 24, were ticketed to board a flight to the Indian city of Chennai.
two of the animals were dead, and many were dehydrated. The animals, believed to have been bred in Thailand, were estimated to have a value of $5,600.
Raja and Ebrahim were charged with violating customs regulations, violating Thailand’s Wildlife Conservation and animal disease.
Chennai has long been known as a hub for animal trafficking. In fact, in 2019, a man arriving in Chennai, India, was arrested after airport officials discovered a one-month-old leopard in his bag.
According to the wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC, “more than 70,000 native and exotic wild animals — including their body parts or derivatives — were discovered in 140 seizures at 18 Indian airports between 2011 and 2020” with the Chennai International Airport in Tamil, Nadu, recording the largest number of animal seizures.
The Thai government launched a campaign against wildlife trafficking in May 2021, linking it to the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have been caused by a pathogen carried by wild animals, the Associated Press reported.
“Stop disease and extinctions: Never eat, buy, hunt or sell wildlife” reads the campaign’s motto.
The animals recovered were reportedly treated and were expected to be moved to an animal care center.