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IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin
©IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group

Volume 30 Issue 1 (January 2013)

Citation: Shepherd, C.R. and Tansom, P. (2013). Seizure Of Live Otters In Bangkok Airport, Thailand IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 30 (1): 37 - 38

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Seizure Of Live Otters In Bangkok Airport, Thailand

Chris R. Shepherd1,2 and Panjit Tansom 1

1TRAFFIC
2Member of the IUCN SSC Otter Specialist Group

(received 29th March 2013, accepted 6th April 2013)
Abstract: On 22 January, 2013, TRAFFIC reported that the Royal Thai Customs officers working at the Wildlife Checkpoint of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport discovered 11 live otters when they scanned a bag that had been left at the oversized luggage area of the airport. The otters, six Smooth Otters Lutrogale perspicllata and five Oriental Small-clawed Otters Aonyx cinereus were all juveniles and are suspected to have been smuggled out of Thailand, bound for Japan to be sold as exotic pets. The bag bore no tags nobody claimed it, and therefore no arrests were made. The otters will undergo health checks before being handed over to the Huay-Ka-Kaeng Breeding Center in Uthai Thani for care.
Keywords: Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli, Otter, smooth–coated otter, poaching, wildlife crime, pet trade
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INTRODUCTION

IOn 22 January, 2013, TRAFFIC reported that the Royal Thai Customs officers working at the Wildlife Checkpoint of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport discovered 11 live otters when they scanned a bag that had been left at the oversized luggage area of the airport ( TRAFFIC website, 2013 ). The otters, six Smooth Otters Lutrogale perspicllata and five Oriental Small-clawed Otters Aonyx cinereus were all juveniles and are suspected to have been smuggled out of Thailand, bound for Japan to be sold as exotic pets.

The bag bore no tags and nobody claimed it, and therefore no arrests were made. Officials of Thailand’s CITES Management Authority, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants and Royal Thai Customs Stated in a press conference that they are investigating the case under Section 27 of Customs Law B.E.2482, Section 16-17 of Customs Law B.E.2469 and Section 23 of Customs Law 2482, as well as the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, B.E 2535 and Animal Epidemics Act, B.E 2499.

While there are frequent seizures of live animals at the airport, this is the first involving otters. The otters will undergo health checks before being handed over to the Huay-Ka-Kaeng Breeding Center in Uthai Thani for care.

Both species are considered Vulnerable by IUCN in the Red List of Threatened Species ( IUCN, 2012 ) and are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  Both species are threatened largely due to degradation and loss of habitat. The scale and impact of hunting and capture for commercial trade in some parts of Southeast Asia was once thought to be minimal ( Melisch et al., 1996 ), however, more recently perhaps, poaching for otter skins in many parts of Asia has become a severe threat ( Meena, 2002 ; Poole, 2003 ; Duckworth and Hill, 2008 ). More research and monitoring is required to better gauge the current extent of the trade in otters in Southeast Asia and the impact such trade is having on wild populations. Efforts to reduce the poaching and illegal trade are urgently needed.

REFERENCES

Duckworth, J. W., Hill, D. M. (2008). A specimen of Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana from far northern Myanmar.  IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 25 (1): 60-67.
IUCN. (2012). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. < http://www.iucnredlist.org >. Downloaded on 23 February 2013.
Meena, V. (2002). Otter poaching in Palni Hills. Zoos’ Print Journal 17 (2): 696-698.
Melisch, R., Kusumawardhani, L., Asmoro, P. B. and Lubis, I. R. (1996). The otters of west Java - a survey of their distribution and habitat use and a strategy towards a species conservation programme. PHPA/Wetlands International Indonesia Programme, Bogor, Indonesia.
Poole, C. M. (2003). The first record of Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana from Cambodia with notes on the national status of three other otter species. Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 51 (2): 273-280.
TRAFFIC. Eleven live otters found in airport luggage – 22 Jan. 2013 - < http://www.traffic.org/home/2013/1/22/eleven-live-otters-found-in-airport-luggage.html > Downloaded 23 February 2013.

Résumé : Saisie de Loutres à l'Aeroport de Bangkok, Thailande
Le 22 Janvier 2013, TRAFFIC a signalé que les agents des douanes royales thaïlandaises travaillant au check-point de la faune sauvage de l'aéroport international Suvarnabhumi de Bangkok, avaient découvert 11 loutres vivantes lorsqu'ils ont scanné un sac laissé dans la zone des bagages surdimensionnés. Les loutres, six loutres à pelage lisse Lutrogale perspicillata et cinq loutres cendrées Aonyx cinereus étaient toutes juvéniles et étaient probablement destinées à quitter clandestinement la Thaïlande, sans doute en partance pour le Japon pour être vendus comme animaux exotiques de compagnie. Le sac ne portait aucun étiquetage et personne ne l'a réclamé. Par conséquent, aucune arrestation n'a été faite. Les loutres feront l'objet d'examens sanitaires avant d'être remises au Centre de reproduction et de soins de Huay-Ka-Kaeng à Uthai Thani.
Revenez au dessus

Resumen: Decomiso de Nutrias Vivas dn dl Aeropuerto de Bangkok, Tailandia
El 22 de enero de 2013, TRAFFIC informó que los funcionarios de la Real Aduana Thai que trabajan en el Puesto de Control de Fauna en el Aeropuerto Internacional de Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok, descubrieron 11 nutrias vivas cuando escanearon una valija que había sido dejada en el área del aeropuerto destinada a equipaje excedido en tamaño. Las nutrias, seis nutrias lisas Lutrogale perspicillata y cinco nutrias asiáticas de uñas pequeñas Aonyx cinereus, eran todas juveniles y se sospecha que estaban siendo contrabandeadas hacia fuera de Tailandia, destinadas a Japón para ser vendidas como mascotas exóticas. La valija no tenía etiquetas, nadie la reclamó, y por lo tanto no se hicieron arrestos. Las nutrias van a pasar por chequeos de salud para luego ser entregadas al Centro de Reproducción Huay-Ka-Kaeng, en Uthai Thani, para su cuidado.
Vuelva a la tapa

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