Bags Fly ... Aieee! Wildlife-Smuggling Bust Nets 259 Live Animals From 3 Suitcases

February 16, 2011

Jonathan Makiri

An Indonesian man was accused of trying to make some quick cash by stuffing 259 live animals into three suitcases last week. The bags were seized when they went through a scanner at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, and an apparent wildlife-smuggling operation went bust.

According to the wildlife monitoring group Traffic, the menagerie included:

1 ploughshare tortoise
6 Argentine horned frogs
7 radiated tortoises
88 Indian star tortoises
22 common squirrels
6 mata mata turtles
19 bearded dragons
3 Aldabra tortoises
18 baboon spiders
1 pig-nosed turtle
33 elongated tortoises
1 African grey parrot
34 ball pythons
2 boa constrictors
1 milk snake
2 corn snakes
2 king snakes
1 mountain kingsnake
1 mole kingsnake
1 hog-nosed snake
4 spiny-tailed lizards
2 Sudan plated lizards
4 chitras

Curious to know what these animals look like, we did some research. Here are a few of the standouts:

The exotic animals were purchased at Bangkok's Chatuchak Market, where illegal animal trade occurs in the open.

Thailand's wildlife trade hit the news again this week when eight Indian star tortoises were seized by UK authorities in Coventry, England. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.