9 Crazy Attempts To Smuggle Live Animals

These are some of the greatest busts in the rare and exotic animal trade.

1. Baby Tiger


In this Aug. 22, 2010 photo released by Suvarnabhumi Airport Wildlife Checkpoint of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, a baby tiger cub is found among stuffed toy tigers in the suitcase of a woman flying from Bangkok to Iran, at Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok, Thailand. Authorities at Bangkok’s international airport found the baby tiger cub that had been drugged and hidden among stuffed toy tigers in the suitcase.

2. Pig Nosed Turtles

AFP / Getty Images

On April 1, 2013, authorities seized the illegal shipment of live 687 pig nosed turtles at the airport in Jakarta that originated from Papua province, a known habitat of the rare fresh water turtles.

AFP / Getty Images

The pig nosed turtles were less than a month old and were sent in a box, but it is unknown where the turtles were supposed to end up. The pig-nosed turtles are listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which imposes international trade restrictions to protect the species from over-exploitation.

3. Falcons


A Pakistani custom official prepares to release falcons at a bird sanctuary on the outskirts of Karachi on January 24, 2013. Pakistan authorities intercepted six falcons that were being smuggled to the gulf.


Pakistani wildlife officials release a falcon in a bird sanctuary on the outskirts of Karachi.

4. Baby Saltwater Crocodiles

DWI OBLO / Reuters

In July 2011, officers confiscated 27 baby saltwater crocodiles being smuggled from Central Kalimantan province to Central Java for trade.

DWI OBLO / Reuters

Eight baby saltwater crocodiles survived the move to Gembiraloka Zoo in Yogyakarta.

5. Pythons


An officer shows a python at the Hall Fish Quarantine office in Medan, Indonesia’s north Sumatra province, August 10, 2011.


The snake was part of a cargo of 21 pythons which were successfully secured at Medan’s Polonia airport before they were smuggled to Jakarta for trade.

6. Lion Cubs

Edward Parsons / AP

One of the two orphan lion cubs that where taken in by Bancroft camp in Mogadishu Somalia, Saturday, March 26, 2011. Their mother was shot and they were driven through a raging civil war, destined to be pets in the Middle East until Somali authorities intervened to save two lion cubs smuggled aboard a ship in the chaotic country’s port.

Edward Parsons / AP

The two tiny cubs, a brother and sister, are believed to be rare Berbera lions because of their spotted coats.

7. Tortoises

STRDEL / Getty Images

Tortoises are pictured at the Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on April 17, 2012.

STRDEL / Getty Images

Bangladesh customs authorities seized more than 400 tortoises at the country’s main airport as the reptiles were being smuggled from India to Thailand, an official said.

8. Lizards

Bullit Marquez / AP

Five sailfin lizards were smuggled into Hong Kong along with 18 Philippine pond turtles and 13 Asian box turtles by a certain Chinese national named Zhang Wenwei on Feb. 8, 2012 and seized by Hong Kong customs officials.

9. Rare Monkeys, Bears, and Leopards


A three-month old white-cheeked gibbon looks from inside a cage after Thai police arrested a citizen of the United Arab Emirates at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok May 13, 2011. Thai police arrested a UAE citizen as he was preparing to fly first class from Bangkok to Dubai with various rare and endangered animals in his suitcases, which included one white-cheeked gibbon, one black-tufted marmoset, two macaque monkeys, four leopards, one Malayan sun bear, and an Asiatic black bear.


A black-tufted marmoset looks from inside a cage.


A Malayan sun bear looks from inside a cage after.


Four two-month-old leopard cubs look from inside a cage after Thai police arrested a citizen of the United Arab Emirates at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok.

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