Rare Baby Animals Found Drugged in 1st Class Passenger’s Suitcases

The luggage of a first-class passenger on a Bangkok-to-Dubai flight contained something other than shirts and socks: Authorities at Suvarnabhumi International Airport found baby leopards, panthers, a bear and monkeys in the suitcases of a United Arab Emirates citizen. Undercover anti-trafficking officers had been tracing the man since he purchased the rare and endangered animals on the black market, according to the Thailand-based FREELAND Foundation whose mission is to make the “world free of human slavery and wildlife trafficking.”

All of the animals had been drugged, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

When authorities opened the suitcases, the animals yawned, said Steven Galster, director of FREELAND, who was present during the bust. There were two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two macaque monkeys — all about the size of puppies.

“It looked like they had sedated the animals and had them in flat cages so they couldn’t move around much,” Galster said. Some of the animals were placed inside canisters with air holes.

Authorities believe the man was part of a trafficking network and were searching for suspected accomplices.

“It was a very sophisticated smuggling operation. We’ve never seen one like this before,” Galster said. “The guy had a virtual zoo in his suitcases.”

“It was a very sophisticated smuggling operation. We’ve never seen one like this before,” Galster said. “The guy had a virtual zoo in his suitcases.”

Not to mention, a small fortune in rare animals. Leopards and panthers fetch roughly $5,000 a piece on the black market in Thailand — known as a “hub for illegal wildlife trafficking” — and most likely more in Dubai, where such exotic pets are said to be popular.

Wildlife trafficking leads to “massive and irrevocably biodiversity loss” and the “degradation” of “natural ecosystems and essential environmental services,” as well as endangering human health, says the FREELAND Foundation. The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to amount to $10 – 20 billion in profits annually.

 

Photo of a macaque monkey in Monkey Cave Temple, Thailand, by Pavel Sigarteu.

368 comments

William C
William C4 months ago

Thanks.

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W. C
W. C4 months ago

Thank you.

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janet stothers
janet stothers3 years ago

this story was 2011!!! wth keep the stories current

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janet stothers
janet stothers3 years ago

they need to let people know that when they do this crap to a an animal that they will face charges!! I hate people making money off animals, the circus is on top of my list

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Sandra I.
Sandra I3 years ago

Thanks for saving them. But where do the animals go after they've been recovered???

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Marlene Dinkins

this is so sick!!!!! it do not look like is going to stop!!!!! poor animals!!!!!!

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Jean B.
Jean B4 years ago

this is absolutely the problem with exotic animal trafficking. sick. who would think this is acceptable? human-kind is no longer 'kind'.

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Pamela LaVeille
Pamela L5 years ago

This is awful!! what in the world is wrong with people!! I just don't understand!!

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C.M Padget
Carolyn Padget5 years ago

Undercover anti-trafficking officers had been tracing the man since he purchased the rare and endangered animals on the black market


Why could they have not stopped the purchase if it was illegal???

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C.M Padget
Carolyn Padget5 years ago

"Undercover anti-trafficking officers had been tracing the man since he purchased the rare and endangered animals on the black market"

Why were they not able to stop him at the time of purchase???

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