An Indian man has been arrested at Thailand’s main airport for trying to smuggle out a menagerie of living creatures, including a desert white fox and a raccoon, officials said Wednesday.
The Southeast Asian kingdom is a major transit hub for wildlife traffickers — who often resell the animals to China and Vietnam — although trade to India has increased in recent months.
Abilash Annaduri, 21, was found with 17 living creatures of six species, Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said in a statement.
He said his loot included a white desert fox, a raccoon, two iguanas and a pair of white pythons — as well as three monitor lizards and eight marmosets.
All the animals were found in plastic baskets hidden under snacks and packed in luggage as he passed through X-ray machines at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport on Tuesday evening on his way to Chennai.
“Thai authorities have arrested a man who tried to smuggle animals into India,” said Prasert Sonsatapornkul, a department director of the conservation department, adding that he had noted an increase in trade to India.
Officials estimate the creatures would be worth about 98,000 baht ($2,760).
But they were stunned at how the animals entered Thailand.
“We can’t find any microchips on these animals, so we don’t know where they come from,” Prasert said.
Annaduri has been charged with wildlife smuggling and detained for questioning by the police.
The rescued animals were sent for medical check-ups.
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