There’s nothing worse than a night in a bad motel. A creaky bed, the stale scent of cigarettes and scratchy sheets will make anyone cringe. The only thing worse? Being stuck in a motel room in a plastic storage container, like the 40 pythons that were found by Canadian authorities last week in a motel in Brantford, a city about 60 miles outsides of Toronto.
The snakes, ranging from 1 foot to 4 1/2 feet in length, after having been improperly stored in plastic bins were in distress when found. Who wouldn’t be?
Of course it’s not the first time that animals and travel have intersected in weird ways. Customs agents are known for coming across situations like snakes and geckos strapped to a passenger, and it’s not unheard of that people smuggle animals on planes, sometimes even odd animal combinations like parrots and squirrels.
According to the motel, the snakes belonged to a couple that had checked into a room for the night but had left when the police arrived. You aren’t allowed to own pythons in the city of Brantford, much less take them to a motel for the evening. They probably would have preferred five stars.
A man identified only as a citizen of the United Arab Emirates was arrested in the international airport in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday for the illegal smuggling of animals. At the time of his arrest, he had several suitcases which contained two baby leopards, two panthers, two macaque monkeys, and an Asiatic black bear.
According to this story from our friends at AOL Travel, the 36-year old was preparing to board a plane to Dubai (Where else?) when he was taken into custody by anti-trafficking agents. Those agents had been reportedly monitoring him since he had made the purchases on the black market a few days earlier, and were simply waiting for the best time to nab him, and safely recover the animals.
The man’s smuggling operation was described as quite sophisticated. Prior to leaving for the airport, he had drugged the small animals to put them to sleep for the flight back to the UAE. He then placed them into flat cages and slid those cages inside the suitcases, which he would have used to get the animals through the airport had he not been caught in the act.
The illegal trade of exotic animals is becoming a bigger problem throughout Asia and especially in Thailand. Wealthy collectors will visit the country to purchase rare, and sometimes endangered, animals, to add them to their own personal zoos, although it is unclear if this particular smuggler was picking up the animals for himself or to be sold after his return to Dubai. Officials say he seems to be quite well connected however, and he had already posted bail just hours after his arrest.
It is difficult to decide which is worse; the illegal animal smuggling in Asia or the terrible problems with poaching in Africa. Both are highly unsavory acts and I applaud all efforts to put a halt to activities.