The cat’s out of the bag—at least for a woman caught smuggling a live, two-month-old, drugged tiger cub in a suitcase full of toys (pictured) at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
The 31-year-old Thai national, whose identity has not been revealed by Thai authorities, was scheduled to board a Mahan Air flight to Iran. But when she was seen struggling with a large bag at check-in, airport officials decided to x-ray her luggage. The x-rays revealed the tranquilized tiger cub among stuffed-tiger toys.
The smuggler—who admitted carrying the cub—could face four years in prison, a $1,280 fine, or both for possessing and smuggling an endangered animal.
With wildlife trade on the rise, officials at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport who rescued the live tiger cub had just gone through a training course on how to spot smugglers. Few wildlife smugglers are ever caught, and penalties are usually no more severe than a parking ticket.
There should be a happy ending for the smuggled tiger cub (pictured), which is being cared for at Thailand‘s Rescue Center of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation.
DNA samples will determine the baby tiger’s subspecies—such as Bengal, Sumatran, or Siberian—which will help authorities figure out where the cub came from.