On August 22, airport security officials in Bangkok detected something suspicious in an oversize suitcase. X rays indicated that along with stuffed animals, the bag contained bones. Indeed, they belonged to a tranquilized two-month-old tiger. The bag, which had been checked by a 31-year old Thai woman, had been en route to Iran.
The cargo was confiscated and the cub is now under the protection of Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, according to TRAFFIC International, a British-based conservation group committed to shutting down international trade in threatened and endangered species. DNA testing of the animal is currently underway to determine its subspecies, which may offer clues to whether it had been poached from the wild or reared in captivity.
Whatever its source, the cub could not be moved legally across national borders; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified all tigers as endangered, which prohibits their movement in commercial international trade.