Soft toys in the shape of various animals isn’t anything new for the Bangkok airport authorities, and are more than legal as well as safe to travel with to any part of the world. But, what the authorities weren’t at all prepared for was to find a sedated real life cub of a tiger hidden discreetly among the scores of soft toys in the baggage of a 31 year old Thai national. The Thai national was on her way to board a scheduled flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Iran.
The incident first came to light, when the woman’s oversized bag became a bit troublesome for the securities to check through and was then sent through the x-ray machine. There the security personnel found what seemed like a live animal inside the baggage. Upon closer inspection, it did turn out to be not only a live animal, but also the cub of a tiger, one of the most endangered species on this planet. Later the airport authorities called in the Livestock Development Department and the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, who immediately responded to the situation and began an investigation into the origin of the tranquilized cub and the traveler’s intentions with the child Tiger.
According to Chris R. Shepherd (Deputy Regional Director, South East Asia, TRAFFIC),
“We applaud all the agencies that came together to uncover this brazen smuggling attempt. TRAFFIC is glad to see these training programmes pay off in seizures, arrests and continued vigilance at the airport especially by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. 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.”