Adorable Tiger Cub Violates Carry-On Restrictions (Photos)

lolcat tiger cub photo

Image credit: TRAFFIC

When security personal at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport scanned a woman's over-sized carry-on last Sunday, they discovered something unexpected in the x-ray: A live tiger cub.

The woman—who has not yet been linked to the UK's cat-trasher—was carrying the sedated tiger in a suitcase filled with stuffed toy tigers.

thailand tiger cub photo

Image credit: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

Upon discovery, the tiger was brought to the Rescue Center of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, where it is currently being cared for and rehabilitated. DNA samples have also been taken in an effort to determine the tiger's subspecies and, ideally, its place of origin.

Authorities hope to determine whether the tiger was captive-bred or caught in the wild.

feeding baby tiger cub photo

Image credit: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

From a legal standpoint, however, the cub's origin doesn't matter. Tigers are categorized as an endangered species by the IUCN and the international trade of tigers, whether wild or captive-bred, is prohibited by CITES.

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Chris R. Shepherd, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia's Deputy Regional Director, said "we applaud all the agencies that came together to uncover this brazen smuggling attempt."

tiger cub sleeping photo

Image credit: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit
He added, however, that:

If people are trying to smuggle live Tigers in their check-in luggage, they obviously think wildlife smuggling is something easy to get away with and do not fear reprimand...only sustained pressure on wildlife traffickers and serious penalties can change that.

Though this story, thankfully, has a happy ending, the status of tigers is no laughing matter. With only about 3,200 tigers left in the wild worldwide, smugglers and poachers pose a serious threat to the survival of the species.

Read more about tigers:
Wild Tiger Population Dropped by 96.8% in 20 Year
Fewer than 50 Wild Tigers Left in China, Says Wildlife Conservation Society
Tiger Tops WWF's List of Ten Critically Endangered Species

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