Airport X-ray reveals more than 100 live animals in two women’s luggage

Image: Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation


Last Monday, June 27, Thai officials arrested two women at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport on charges of smuggling 109 wild animals.

In a press release, Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation confirmed that the animals were found in two different checked bags during the X-ray inspection.

Upon the discovery, authorities quickly arrested two Indian women who owned the luggage, identified by the Bangkok Post as Nithya Raja, 38, and ZakiaSulthana Ebrahim, 24. Police officers approached the women before boarding a flight bound for Chennai, India.

Several wild animals were found in the bags, including two armadillos, two porcupines, 20 snakes, 35 turtles and 50 lizards. Although severely dehydrated, most of the animals were alive, with only two dead.

Image: Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation
Image: Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation
Image: Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation


Most of these animals are under environmental protection or are unsuitable for most environments other than their own habitat. Turtles are from a family that is on the International Vulnerable Species List.

The suspects were detained on charges of violating Thailand’s Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act 2019, Animal Disease Act 2015 and Customs Act 2017. Both face up to 10 years in prison.

Authorities did not share the suspects’ intentions if they successfully landed the animals in Chennai. There is also no information on the whereabouts of the rescued animals, if they needed special care, if they will return to nature or if they are going to an animal center.

According to Agência Pressenza, according to TRAFFIC, a non-governmental organization that investigates the trafficking of wild animals and plants, the smuggling of exotic animals is the fourth most recent illegal trade, behind only weapons, drugs and human trafficking.

A report by TRAFFIC in March 2022 shows that at least 70,000 wild and exotic animals were found in 140 searches at 18 different Indian airports between 2011 and 2020. More than a third of these crimes took place at Chennai International Airport.

The report says: “Chennai International Airport, Tamil Nadu, recorded the highest number of incidents of wildlife seizures, followed by Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport.


About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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