Thai authorities find live tiger cub in woman's luggage
Thai authorities stopped a woman from smuggling a two-month-old tiger cub hidden among toy tigers in her luggage on to a plane, a wildlife protection group said Friday, DPA reported.
Staff at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Sunday stopped a 31-year-old Thai woman from boarding a Mahan Air flight for Iran after X-ray scanners showed what appeared to be a real cat among the stuffed tiger toys in her outsized hand luggage.
Livestock and wildlife officials were called in to open the bag for inspection and found a sedated tiger cub, said TRAFFIC International, a wildlife protection group.
"Investigations are underway to determine if the cub was wild caught or captive-bred, where it came from and the suspect's intended final destination," TRAFFIC said in a statement.
Tigers are categorized as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their trade has been banned since 1987 by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species, of which both Thailand and Iran are signatories.
Asia's wild tiger population has dropped drastically in recent decades to an estimated 3,000 due to deforestation and widespread poaching.