What happens when the airport scanner shows shapes that look like live spiders, snakes, lizards and tortoises inside three big suitcases? Last week in Bangkok, it meant the detention of an Indonesian man and the seizure of 259 live creatures that were slotted into compartments in the black traveling bags.
The suspected smuggler reportedly went on a wildlife shopping spree in Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market, a hub for rare animal trade, according to conservation group TRAFFIC, which monitors illegal trafficking of species.
The suspect had stuffed 88 Indian Star Tortoises, 33 Elongated Tortoises, seven Radiated Tortoises, six Mata Mata Turtles, four Southeast Asian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle, three Aldabra Tortoises, one Pig-nosed Turtle and even one Ploughshare Tortoise—the world’s rarest tortoise, TRAFFIC said in a statement.
Alongside these, he packed 34 Ball Pythons, two Boa Constrictors, several Milk Snakes, Corn Snakes and King Snakes as well as a Hog-nosed Snake.
The suspect also had 19 Bearded Dragons, four Spiny-tailed Lizards, two Sunda Plated Lizards, six Argentine Horned Frogs.