Doped tiger cub bagged in airport search
A SUiTCASE search at Bangkok international airport turned up a stuffed toy tiger and a real live cub to boot.
The animal was being flown from Thailand to iran by the suitcase’s owner, a Thai woman, whose attempt to smuggle it out of the country was undone when airport staff X-rayed her bulky baggage.
Wildlife trade monitoring group, Traffic, said the woman was arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport before she could board her flight last weekend.
The cub, estimated to be about three months old, has now been sent to a wildlife conservation centre in Bangkok.
“The cub arrived at our unit on Monday,” said Chaiyaporn Chareesaeng, head of the wildlife health unit at the Department of national Parks’ Wildlife and Plant Conservation Centre, where little tiger was put under close supervision.
“He appeared exhausted, dehydrated and couldn’t walk, so we had to give him oxygen, water and lactation,” said Chaiyaporn. “We have monitored him closely. As of today, he looks better and can walk a little now.”
A DnA test was expected to provide details about its origin, said Chaiyaporn.
The woman, identified as Piyawan Palasarn, 31, faces up to four years in prison and a £830 fine for two wildlife smuggling- related charges, police said. At first she denied the luggage with the cub belonged to her and said another passenger had asked her to carry it for them, an official claimed.
The cub had been doped up with anti-depressants so it would remain motionless and escape detection by customs staff.
it could have fetched about £2,000 on the black market in iran, where exotic pets are popular, though it is not know what the woman intended to do with
“He was exhausted, dehydrated and couldn’t walk”
Thai wildlife health spokesman this particular cub. Wildlife experts say the number of tigers in Asia have plummeted over the years due mainly to habitat loss and poachers who sell their skins and body parts to booming medicinal and souvenir markets, mostly in China.
Conservationists say the government needs to do more to eliminate trafficking networks that operate out of the country.
“We applaud all agencies that came together to uncover this brazen smuggling attempt,” Chris Shepherd, Traffic’s deputy regional director for Southeast Asia, said in a statement.
“They obviously think wildlife smuggling is something easy to get away with.”