A man tried to smuggle rare and endangered animals in his suitcase from Thailand on a flight to Dubai that included leopards, panthers and a bear, all found hidden in cages in his luggage.
All the animals were drugged and stuffed into suitcases. An investigation is under way and more arrests are being made as investigators find and arrest others involved in the operation.
Amongst the animals he tried to sneak out of the country:
Two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two macaque monkeys
“It looked like they had sedated the animals and had them in flat cages so they couldn’t move around much,” said Steven Galster, director of Freeland, who was present at the arrest.
Severals animals were stuffed into containers poked with air holes.
“It was a very sophisticated smuggling operation. We’ve never seen one like this before,” Mr Galster said. “The guy had a virtual zoo in his suitcases.”
Last month customs officials seized 1,800 protected lizards said to be destined to be sold as food.
Lizard meat demands a high price and is seen as a delicacy in parts of Asia.