Women tried to smuggle 109 live animals through Bangkok airport, officials say

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Two Indian women were arrested at a Bangkok airport for trying to smuggle live animals through security.  ( Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation)

Two Indian women were arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok for trying to smuggle in more than 100 live animals through security, Thailand wildlife officials said in a news release

The animals included two white porcupines, two armadillos, 35 turtles, 50 chameleons and 20 snakes.

Officials said they were tipped off when an X-ray machine at the airport’s wildlife checkpoint spotted two suspicious bags. That’s when authorities inspected the women’s luggage. 

Authorities said the women were trying to catch a flight on Thai Airways to Chennai International Airport in Chennai, India.

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The women were charged with violating the Animal Epidemic Act of 2015, which helps prevent and control epidemics. 

Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation confiscated the animals. 

According to TRAFFIC, an advocacy group dedicated to safe wildlife trade, there have been 140 wildlife seizures at 18 Indian airports between 2011-2020. Among the top pieces include reptiles, followed by mammals. 

The organization said Chennai International Airport has the highest number of recorded incidents of wildlife seizures. 

According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Department of State, India is listed as a country with a major source of wildlife trafficking. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.