More than 100 live animals found in suitcases at Thailand Suvarnabhumi Airport
According to Thai officials, two women from India were detained at a Bangkok airport after more than one hundred live animals were discovered in their luggage. This incident comes at a time when wildlife trafficking is on the rise due to the relaxation of pandemic travel restrictions around the world.
Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation says that when their bags were put through an X-ray machine at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, suspicious items were found. The authorities did a search and found, among other things, 50 lizards, 35 turtles, and two porcupines. At least two of the animals were already dead, and many of them were thirsty.
The Amazon-native yellow-spotted river turtle, which is listed as a threatened species internationally, and the Peter’s banded skink, which is offered for sale as a pet in the United States, were two of the creatures.
The two women were identified as Nithya Raja, 38, and Zakia Sulthana by Thai authorities. They were accused of breaking the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act as well as Thai customs and public health regulations. The latter offense carries a potential 10 year maximum prison term, a $28,500 maximum fine, or both.
Requests for feedback from the Indian Embassy in Bangkok and the Thailand Parks Department went unanswered.
According to the officials, the women were attempting to get on a flight to the city of Chennai, which is located in southern India. According to the non-governmental organization Traffic, India’s airports were responsible for the seizure of more than 70,000 animals between the years 2011 and 2020. 36 percent of such seizures were reported as having taken place at the airport in Chennai.