Leopards, Monkeys, Bear Found in Airport Bags
Anti-trafficking officials tracked Dubai-bound carrier to Thai hub
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 13, 2011 2:32 PM CDT
In this photo released Friday, May 13, 2011, a leopard cub looks out from a cage after being confiscated by Thai authorities at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport.   (AP Photo/FREEDLAND Foundation)
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(Newser) – Thai officials today nabbed a Dubai-bound man who was hauling “a virtual zoo” of endangered creatures around the Bangkok airport. When they opened his bags, they found a yawning bunch of sedated newborns: two leopards, two panthers, two macaque monkeys, and an Asiatic black bear, the AP reports. Anti-trafficking authorities had been tracking the United Arab Emirates citizen, 36, ever since he’d purchased the animals on the black market.

“It was a very sophisticated smuggling operation. We've never seen one like this before,” says an authority. Thailand’s oft-smuggled animals are typically more along the lines of turtles, snakes, and lizards. Officials believe the man was part of a smugglers’ network. Leopards and panthers can bring in $5,000 apiece on Thailand’s black market, and likely more in Dubai, says the official.