AsianScientist (Feb. 18, 2013) – Predictions for the Year of the Snake which began on Sunday, say it isn’t a good one for those born under that Chinese Zodiac sign. It may also be a bad year for its namesake if a seizure of over 2,000 snakes in Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Chinese new year’s eve is anything to go by.
More than 2,000 rat snakes and cobras, packed in blue mesh bags which were in turn hidden in over 200 polystyrene boxes, were part of a shipment declared as fresh fruit.
The shipment had been flown to Hong Kong on February 5 where it was rejected by Hong Kong Customs and returned to Thailand as it lacked documentation.
Thailand’s CITES officials and Airport of Thailand officers co-operated to access the shipment upon its arrival in Bangkok. The boxes were then then inspected by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and found to contain the snakes.
Authorities told a press conference that the shipment belonged to exporter AK International Co Ltd. The case is being investigated under the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act (WARPA) and Thai Customs Laws. The snake species involved are protected under Thai laws and CITES legislation.
Zodiac animal themed items are usually in high demand every Chinese New Year. While these are usually decorations and trinkets made in the image of animals, occasionally the animal itself is in demand.
News reports in Malaysia for instance, have quoted pet shop owners saying that they are seeing an increased demand for pet snakes, with one shop reporting sales of 30 snakes in recent days.
Snakes are traded for their skins, meat, gall bladder, and venom. Large seizures of illegally traded snakes are common in the region.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.