Two Thai men, including a pet shop owner, were arrested after Thai police found 14 rare albino lions and more than two hundred other protected animals in his warehouse near Bangkok.
Police Colonel Ek Ekasart reported that police found 14 albino lions from Africa, hundreds of birds, meerkats, tortoises, peafowls, capuchin monkeys, and other species from overseas and Thailand.
The two Thai men, including Montri Boonprom-on, 41, face charges of possessing wildlife and carcasses and could face up to four years in jail and a fine of $1,300 US dollars.
Huffington Post reported that “Ek said Montri owns an exotic pet shop at Bangkok’s renowned Chatuchak weekend market and was previously convicted of wildlife trade.”
Police had been monitoring the location after they had received complaints about the noise and smell of animals.
Ek told reporters during the raid in a residential area of Bangkok’s Klong Sam Wa district. “And if you looked through the gate, you could spot lions in the cage.”
When asked, Montri told reporters that the lions were shipped legally to Bangkok from Africa and were waiting to be moved to a zoo in Thailand’s northeast.
According to Huffington Post, “He (Montri) did not explain why only 14 lions remained at his warehouse, while the documents showed he had imported 16.
“Thailand is a well-known hub of the international black market in protected animals.
“While the country is a member of a convention regulating international trade in endangered species, Thai law does not extend protection to many alien species.”
Animals found in these three raids and others not only included tortoises, scaly anteaters, and rare albino lions, but also monkeys, hornbills, leopards and many others.
Bangkok seems to be really cracking down this year when it comes to the trafficking of endangered species, but how much promise does that show for the rare albino lions and other animals that are regularly targeted?
[Image via Shutterstock/Praisaeng ]