BANGKOK: Thai authorities on Monday rescued 47 macaques from a pickup truck in Nakhon Ratchasima while being smuggled out of the country.
Aram Thaphiran, Director of Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) at the Protected Areas Regional 7 (Nakhon Ratchasima), said authorities intercepted two pickup trucks at around 12.10 am (local time) and found the macaques crammed in plastic cages.
“Following a search, the officers found 47 macaques in six plastic cages in back of one of the pickup truck. Each macaque was placed in a net bag.
“The officers arrested the two pickup drivers aged 37 and 43 years old,” he said in a statement.
The authorities include officers from DNP, Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division, and highway patrol unit.
He added that the 37-year-old driver told the police that the macaques were destined to Nong Khai province, in neighboring Laos.
The two drivers will be charged for smuggling wildlife, he said.
Meanwhile, local media reported that the 37-year old pickup truck driver transporting the macaques said he was paid 17,000 baht to pick up the cages from Khao Takhrong National Park in Ratchaburi and deliver them to Nong Khai.
Both admitted that they were unaware that the macaques were protected animal under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.
While the statement did no mention why the macaques were being smuggled out, it is widely known they have been used for traditional medicine or for research. -Bernama