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. (Read more leopards stories.)