Thais Bust Man With 'Suitcase Zoo'

Smuggler tried to board plane with hundreds of creatures in luggage
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2011 3:04 AM CST
Thais Bust Man With 'Suitcase Zoo'
The ploughshare tortoise is found only in a small area of northwestern Madagascar - and, apparently, in Bangkok's Chatuchak market.   (Wikipedia / Hans Hillewaert)

Bangkok authorities have busted a man who attempted to board a plane carrying enough creatures to start a small zoo. The Indonesian smuggler's three suitcases contained dozens of snakes—including two boa constrictors and 34 ball pythons—26 lizards of assorted kinds, six Argentine horned frogs, 18 baboon spiders, 22 squirrels, a parrot, and close to 150 tortoises of various species, according to Traffic, an organization that fights illegal wildlife trafficking.

Many of the creatures in the man's suitcase menagerie were from rare and endangered species, including a plowshare tortoise, of which fewer than a thousand exist. Traffic says the man bought all the animals at Bangkok's Chatuchak market, a notorious hub for trading in rare animals. "Frankly, the situation is totally unacceptable in a country that claims to be effectively addressing the illegal wildlife trade," the organization's regional director tells CNN.
(More endangered species stories.)

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