Parks officials seize 11 otters at airport

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has confiscated 11 otters at Suvarnabhumi airport and seized over 100 protected birds from local markets in Bangkok.

These otters are among11 caged at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation after theywereseizedfrom a wildlife smuggling gang at Suvarnabhumiairport on Monday. Wildlife authorities also confiscatedmorethan 100 protected birds from several bird vendors in Bangkok. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

Budsabong Kanchanasaka, chief of the department's wildlife research unit, said authorities found a suspicious piece of luggage that had been left unattended at the airport's departure lounge on Monday.

An x-ray found 11 otters inside the suitcase. The otters, weighing about one kilogramme each, were later brought to the department's headquarters.

"The luggage was destined for Japan," she said, adding it was unclear where the otters had been taken from.

However, since otters live in the sea or in wetlands, it is likely they came from the southern provinces, Ms Budsabong said.

The otter is a protected species under the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, which bans the export of the animal without permission.

The otters will be sent to Noknam Bangpra Wildlife Breeding Centre in Chon Buri province and Huai Ka Khaeng Wildlife Breeding Centre in Uthai Thani province.

Wildlife officials also confiscated 119 rare birds from bird vendors near Chatuchak Weekend Market and near the holy Brahma statue at Ratchaprasong intersection. Most of the confiscated birds are red-whiskered bulbuls.

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Writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
Position: Reporter