Security screeners at a Thai airport discovered an attempted tiger smuggling, presumably by realizing stuffed animals don’t have a skeleton. A 31-year-old Thai national was trying to smuggle a sedated tiger cub in a carry-on bag. As it went through the X-ray machine, screeners noticed an item resembling a real cat. Closer inspection identified the actual item and the individual was arrested.

Unfortunately, this person is presumably among the very small minority of smugglers that actually get caught. Creative smugglers, established smuggling pathways, lucrative markets and extremely lenient penalties combine to make this a pathetic but unfortunately often profitable venture that results in the deaths of huge numbers of animals, and acts as a potential way to transmit various infectious diseases that could affect other animals or humans.

Image: Tiger cub at the Philadelphia Zoo (source: