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Tiger checked-in

G-Online

A live, drugged tiger cub was discovered in check-in luggage at Bangkok airport.

live cub

Credit: TRAFFIC

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A two-month old tiger cub was found stuffed into a passenger’s check-in luggage at Bangkok international airport.

The cub had been sedated and was hidden amongst stuffed-tiger toys in a woman’s bag last Sunday. Security staff noticed the x-ray images of a cat before officials opened the bag to discover the tranquillized cub.

“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,” said Chris Shepherd from Southeast Asia’s branch of TRAFFIC – a network to stop illegal wildlife smuggling.

Tigers are critically threatened in Thailand and throughout Asia due to poaching and trade to meet the international demand for tiger parts, products and in this case, live tigers. An international UN agreement means that tigers cannot be traded for commercial purposes.

The suspect is a 31-year old Thai woman who was scheduled to board a flight to Iran, however this may not have been the final destination for the baby tiger.

The cub is being cared for at the Rescue Centre of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. It is hoped that the results from DNA samples will help determine if the cub was wild caught or captive-bred, and where it came from.

Shepherd says that the only way to stop smuggling of threatened species is through “sustained pressure on wildlife traffickers and serious penalties”.