|Baby Tiger Cub found hidden among cuddly toys in Bangkok Airport: Traffic|
Customs officers at Bangkok airport in Thailand have discovered a drugged tiger cub in a check-in bag filled with stuffed animal toys.
An X-ray revealed the animal's beating heart and other functioning organs inside the oversized luggage of a 31-year-old Thai woman who was due to board a plane to Iran.
Experts were called to inspect what was at first believed to be a sedated cat, but was later identified as an endangered tiger cub. In a botched attempt to conceal the animal, all the other cuddly toys in the bag were artificial stuffed tigers.
DNA checks are under way to determine if the cub was caught in the wild or captive-bred, and its origin.
Traffic, the anti-smuggling organisation that has been working with the Thai authorities to stop the wildlife trade, applauded the work of the customs officials, but warned that the case showed the need for constant monitoring and tougher sentencing.
"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 R Shepherd, Traffic south-east Asia's deputy regional director. "Only sustained pressure on wildlife traffickers and serious penalties can change that."
(Click here to read the full story on the Reuters News website)