Published: Sun, February 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Leopard Cub Seized at Indian Airport in Suspected Smuggling

Leopard Cub Seized at Indian Airport in Suspected Smuggling

Based on intelligence inputs that said prohibited wild animals may be smuggled from Thailand, officers of the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) had been maintaining a vigil at the Customs arrival hall.

Officials are investigating links to a possible smuggling ring.

En route from Thailand to India, the man carried the month-old cub in a plastic grocery "basket" inside his checked luggage. That's when they hear "a faint trill sound" reportedly coming from the man's baggage, so officials opened the man's baggage and found the leopard cub in a pink basket. It was given milk using a feeding bottle by customs officers.

India's NTV quoted a senior official as saying: "He says he was supposed to handover it to someone at the Chennai airport".

"We have taken the custody of the passenger and are questioning him on the source of the animal", A.O. Limatoshi, head of Chennai wildlife crime bureau, told AFP.

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The nationality of the 45-year-old passenger is still unclear and the case was handed over to state's Wildlife Crime Bureau.

Airport staff were left in shock when they uncovered a fragile leopard cub in the bag of passenger who had flown from Bangkok to India. A veterinary doctor was called from the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, who informed the customs authorities that the cub was a one-month old female weighing 1.1 kg and measuring 54cm from nose to tail.

Despite being "weak", veterinarians said the cub was in good condition.

Further investigations are now underway to find out how and why the cub was illegally smuggled.

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