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Smuggling

Thai customs seize red panda, snakes in checked-in baggage

Thai customs seize red panda, snakes in checked-in baggage
A Red Panda is seen at Taronga Zoo on September 01, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, March 7 (Reuters) - Thai customs officials rescued a red panda, snakes, monkeys and chameleons from checked-in luggage at the country's main airport this week after arresting six Indian nationals for attempted smuggling.

A total of 87 reptiles and mammals were found in the baggage, including chameleons, snakes, a large-beaked parrot, red-eyed squirrels, bats and monkeys.

Some animals were wrapped in paper, others in plastic containers, photos from customs at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport showed.

The six, bound for Mumbai, were arrested on Monday, authorities said in a statement.

Thailand, which borders four countries, has seen its fair share of illegal wildlife trafficking and customs officials at Suvarnabhumi often seize reptiles and small animals in luggage.

There is high demand for animal products in countries including China, Myanmar and Thailand, where they are used in traditional medicine or consumed directly.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Edited by Nick Macfie)

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