Inside 4 Suitcases, 431 Rare Reptiles
Next time though, they're thinking first class
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2011 10:59 AM CDT
Mud turtles crawl inside a basket as they are shown to the press during a news conference by Thai customs in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, June 2, 2011.   (Apichart Weerawong)
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(Newser) – A whopping 431 turtles and other rare reptiles were found stuffed into four suitcases and smuggled into the Bangkok airport, say Thai customs authorities. Gharials, a type of crocodile native to India, and Indian star and roofed tortoises were among the endangered species discovered in the luggage yesterday. Many of the reptiles found are banned from international trade. They were discovered when an Indian traveler arriving from Bangladesh failed to retrieve his bags.

Thailand is a hub for the illegal wildlife trade. A smuggling attempt thwarted last month involved two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two macaque monkeys—all juveniles about the size of puppies. Click for that story.

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