Thai customs officials rescued a red panda, snakes, monkeys and chameleons from checked-in luggage at the country’s main airport this week after arresting six Indian nationals for attempted smuggling.

A total of 87 reptiles and mammals were found in the baggage, including chameleons, snakes, a large-beaked parrot, red-eyed squirrels, bats and monkeys.

Some animals were wrapped in paper, others in plastic containers, photos from customs at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport showed.

The six, bound for Mumbai, were arrested on Monday, authorities said in a statement.

Thailand, which borders four countries, has seen its fair share of illegal wildlife trafficking and customs officials at Suvarnabhumi often seize reptiles and small animals in luggage.

A Sulawesi bear cuscus in a basket was also seized by Thai officials.Thailand Customs / AFP – Getty Images
Thai customs seize red panda, snakes in checked-in baggage
A parrot discovered inside a plastic container with air holes drilled through the top.Thailand Customs / AFP – Getty Images

There is high demand for animal products in countries including China, Myanmar and Thailand, where they are used in traditional medicine or consumed directly.

A small tree-dwelling mammal native to the Himalayas, the red panda is not closely related to the better-known giant panda.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says the red panda faces a very high risk of extinction due to habitat loss.

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