Crocodiles and tortoises on a plane

Posted on June 2, 2011

Well, they didn’t actually make it on to a plane but were found stuffed in four suitcases in the Bangkok airport, all 431 of them.

Thai customs authorities say 431 turtles and other rare reptiles were stuffed into four suitcases and smuggled into the Bangkok airport.

Gharials – a type of crocodile native to India – and Indian star and footed tortoises were among the endangered species found in the luggage Wednesday.

Customs Department Director-General Prasong Poontaneat says many of the reptiles found are banned from international trade. They were discovered when an Indian traveler arriving from Bangladesh failed to retrieve his bags.

Prasong said the animals would be held for evidence and taken care of by wildlife officials.

Thailand is a hub for the illegal wildlife trade. A smuggling attempt thwarted last month involved two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two macaque monkeys – all juveniles about the size of puppies.

Can you imagine being the unsuspecting airport official who opened one of the suitcases only to find crocodiles stuffed inside?

Posted in: Thailand