Bangkok (dpa) – Thai authorities intercepted 600 cobras being smuggled through the kingdom to either China or Vietnam where people are stocking up on exotic meats for the traditional New Year’s celebrations, officials and anti-animal traffickers said Wednesday.
Acting on a tip-off, Thai Customs officials stopped a pickup truck in Prachucab Khiri Khan province, 165 kilometres south of Bangkok, Monday night, and found the cobras packed in containers, Customs Department Director-General Benja Louicharoen said.
She estimated the value of the reptiles at 500,000 baht (16,130 dollars). The pickup’s driver was charged with smuggling and violation of the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, allowing authorities to confiscate the snakes which were destined for ”a neighbouring country.”
”What’s happening is we are coming into the season when people in China and Vietnam are stocking up on exotic meats for the traditional New Year’s celebrations in January and February,” said Steven Galster, director of the FREELAND Foundation, a Thailand-based anti-trafficking group.
”The traffickers are raking up every kind of snake they can find, not just cobras,” Galster said.
Share and EnjoyTags: benja, cobras, customs department, customs officials, department director, director general, exotic meats, freeland, khiri khan, kilometres, neighbouring country, pickup truck, protection act, reptiles, s driver, snakes, thai authorities, thai customs, traffickers, wildlife preservation