Animal Smuggling: “Virtual Zoo” Found in Man’s Suitcases

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on June 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Chalk one up for the good guys. Although it does make one wonder how many successful smuggling attempts there are for every one that gets busted.

As reported by The Guardian, a 36-year-old man from the United Arab Emirates was arrested in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport while awaiting for this first-class flight for trying to smuggle, get this, two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear, and two macaque monkeys. All the animals were the size of puppies.

Image: MacJewell /Flickr

The smuggler had drugged them and placed them in flat cages or small containers with air holes to limit their movements, and stored these in his suitcases. The man had been monitored by anti-trafficking officers since he made his purchases on the black market. Steven Galster, director of Freeland (a Thailand-based anti-trafficking organization), had this to say:

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


It was also reported that in Thailand, leopards and panthers can sell for as much as $5000 each, and much higher in the UAE. Bangkok is apparently animal-smuggling central with authorities there typically finding turtles, tortoises, snakes, and lizards, usually bound for China. This recent find is unusual for them.

Tags: animal smuggling, Bangkok, Thailand, trafficking, UAE

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