Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport has seen countless traffickers attempt to smuggle a myriad wild animals out in luggage, but never otters - until earlier this week.
Officers at the airport’s Wildlife Checkpoint and the Royal Thai Customs discovered 11 live otters when they scanned a bag that had been left at the oversized luggage area of the airport.
As the bag bore no tags and no one claimed it, the officers opened the luggage to find six Smooth Coated Otters and five Oriental Small Clawed Otters inside. The otters, which look to be juveniles, will undergo health checks before being handed over to the Bang-Pra Breeding Center in Chonburi for care.
Throughout Southeast Asia, otters are disappearing from their former ranges thanks to high demand for the animals’ pelts and for their use as pets, wildmeat and traditional Chinese medicine. While officials have intersected otter skins before, this is the first time a bundle of live otters has been found at the airport.