109 live animals – including 35 turtles and 20 snakes – found in women’s luggage | world news

Two women have been arrested after trying to smuggle 109 live animals from Thailand in their luggage.

Officers found 35 turtles, 50 chameleons, 20 snakes, two white porcupines and two armadillos in their bags.

The couple attempted to board a Thai Airways flight to India and suspicions arose after what was supposed to be a routine X-ray inspection.

Both have been arrested and charged with violations of Thailand’s Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, Customs Act and Animal Epidemic Act.

An armadillo was dehydrated but alive after being rescued from one of THAILAND'S DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL PARKS, WILDLIFE AND PLANT CONSERVATION

The incident happened Monday at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

Traffic, a non-governmental organization that oversees the wildlife trade, said such incidents are a “serious and growing” problem.

Two women have been arrested in Thailand for allegedly trying to smuggle at least 109 live animals in their luggage - including porcupines, armadillos, turtles, chameleons and snakes - while trying to board a flight to India.  The incident at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok Credit: THAILAND'S DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL PARKS, WILDLIFE AND PLANT CONSERVATION

“It includes the fourth largest illicit trade in the world after arms, drugs and human trafficking, and often has links to other forms of serious crime such as fraud, money laundering and corruption,” a March 2022 report warned.

Common motivations for wildlife smuggling include its use for food, traditional medicines, artifacts, fashion, and exotic pets.

An armadillo after being rescued from one of the suitcases Credit: THAILAND'S DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL PARKS, WILDLIFE AND PLANT CONSERVATION

More than 70,000 wild animals – including their body parts or derivatives – were discovered at Indian airports between 2011 and 2020, according to Traffic’s research.

And Chennai International Airport, where the arrested couple was traveling, had the highest number of wildlife seizure incidents in the country.

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