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Customs officials in India intercepted a passenger after his flight who was trying to smuggle a one-month-old leopard cub through Chennai International Airport.
The animal was discovered in the 45-year-old man’s checked luggage Saturday, according to the Times of India.
“On Saturday morning, (air intelligence unit) officers noticed that a male passenger was moving in a suspicious manner in the arrival area,” Rajan Chaudhary, Chennai Airport’s customs commissioner, told the Times of India. “After he collected his checked in luggage, he was walking in a rather hurried manner. A faint sound was coming from his checked-in luggage.”
“On examination of his stroller bag, a pink plastic basket was found in which a small animal resembling a leopard cub was found. The animal was in a state of shock and was making trill sounds and appeared to be weak,” he continued.
The man had just flown from Bangkok to Chennai on Thai Airways when the cub was found.
The Customs Zone in Chennai, India, confirmed the incident in a tweet: “passenger from Bangkok intercepted with one leopard cub at airport by AIU officers. She is a month old female, seized and handed over to Forest Dept. The cub will be rehabilitated in Aringar Zoo Chenna,” the account wrote.
Wildlife police are now looking into whether the passenger has connections to an international smuggling ring, The Independent reports.
USA TODAY has reached out to Thai Airways, Chennai International Airport and Chennai Customs for comment.
In other smuggling news: Passenger caught smuggling a live snake in his pants at Berlin airport
But wait there’s more: Traveler caught trying to smuggle 70 live birds through JFK in hair rollers
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