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Man Nabbed Trying to Smuggle 17 Wild Animals to India

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Man Nabbed Trying to Smuggle 17 Wild Animals to India

A 21-year-old man from India has been arrested at Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport attempting to smuggle out live wild animals in his luggage officials said Wednesday.

Thailand is a major transit hub for wildlife smugglers who commonly sell the wild animals on to China and Vietnam. However in recent months wildlife officials have seen an uptick in trafficking to India.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said Abilash Annaduri, 21, was found with 17 live creatures of six species.

Animal smuggler from India arrested

Among the animals he found were a white desert fox, a raccoon, two iguanas, a pair of white pythons, three monitor lizards and eight marmoset monkeys.

As he passed through Bangkok’s airport on his way to Chennai on Tuesday night, an X-ray machine found the animals packed in plastic container, hidden underneath snacks, and packed into luggage.

Apparently, there has been an increase in animal trafficking to India, said Prasert Sonsatapornkul, a division director at the conservation department.

According to wildlife officials, the creatures would be worth approximately 98,000 baht ($2,760) when sold in India.

Immigration Police have detained Mr. Annaduri for questioning on charges of wildlife smuggling. The  animals were sent for medical check-ups.

Trafficked animal from Thailand to India

Trafficked Animals from Thailand to India

The interdiction of more than six trafficking cases involving Indian smugglers in the past four months indicates that India is becoming a potential market for CITES-listed animal species being smuggled out of Thailand.

Prasert Sornsathapornkul, director of the Division of Wild Fauna and Flora Protection, said that four trafficking cases were intercepted in August alone, and that the alleged perpetrators were Indian nationals, indicating an increase in the number of people from India who wish to raise rare animal species as pets.

According to him, however, all the alleged traffickers arrested are couriers hired by middlemen in India to smuggle the animals from Thailand. Some of the animals are not native to Thailand and are being illegally bred in the Kingdom.

Prasert said that he would discuss this issue with Indian delegates at the CITES COP19 meeting in Panama in November, so that joint measures can be developed to combat wildlife trafficking.

Most of the animals intercepted were monkeys, such as marmosets and Indian and Burmese star tortoises, as well as leopards and rare snakes.

According to him, his officials have been investigating whether recent trafficking cases are related to the ones from previous months, as well as trying to locate the source of the animals in Thailand.

In order to protect CITES-listed animal species, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has designated 68 species as protected animals whose possession must be declared.

After publication in the Royal Gazette, the edict is expected to go into effect within 1-2 months.

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