Leopard cub found in passenger's luggage at Indian airport

Published: February 03, 2019 13:56:43 | Updated: February 07, 2019 11:21:50

The leopard cub will be rehabilitated in Aringar Zoo in Chennai. Twitter image by Chennai Customs

An air passenger who arrived in India from Thailand has been detained at the airport after customs officers found a month-old leopard cub in his luggage.

Suspicions were raised when officials heard noises coming from his bag, which was found to contain the 2.2lb (1kg) cub hidden in a plastic grocery basket.

The one-month-old female was discovered in a pink cage inside the man's bag. Twitter image by Chennai Customs

The man had arrived at Chennai airport on Saturday on a flight from Bangkok.

Authorities are investigating whether the suspect is part of an international smuggling ring, officials told reporters.

The 45-year-old, who has not yet been officially named, was said to have been "evasive in his replies" when questioned about his luggage by customs officers, reports BBC.

"The animal was in a state of shock and was making trill sounds, and appeared to be weak," airport officials said.

Footage captured at the airport showed officials bottle-feeding the leopard cub milk.

Customs officers fed the leopard cub milk to replenish its energy. Twitter image by Chennai Customs

Following an assessment by veterinarians, the tiny cat was later taken to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai, where it will be cared for, India's NDTV reported.

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