Video: Live Baby Leopard Rescued From Passenger’s Checked Luggage

Filed Under: Videos

Can I file this under the ‘here’s something you don’t see everyday’ category?

On Saturday morning, customs officials at India’s Chennai Airport stopped a 45 year old male passenger coming off a flight from Bangkok for a random security check. As they frisked the passenger, they heard ‘muffled cries’ coming from the passenger’s checked luggage.

When they opened the passenger’s luggage to check what the noise was, they discovered a month old female Panthera Pardus leopard cub in a state of shock in a plastic basket making distressed noises.

I’m happy to report the airport officials were able to calm and feed the cub with milk, and the main reason for this article is to show you this adorable video:

You occasionally hear of reptiles and birds being smuggled either in luggage, or, in the old days before body scanners, strapped to passengers’ bodies.

I’m guessing the aircraft hold was heated during the flight (i.e. the heating was switched on because there were other animals in the hold that were properly checked in as live cargo), otherwise I am surprised the cub survived the flight.

Although the cub has been through a terrible ordeal I’m glad to see this one had a happy ending!

What is the strangest animal you have ever heard a passenger trying to smuggle on a flight?

  1. That poor baby taken from it’s mother. I hope it ends up with a new mom in a safe environment. And I hope the passenger who did this faces criminal charges.

  2. @Debit – Are people who call people “scum” based on their race, sex, and political party also scum?

  3. Someone here checked out the brain at the door… 3,5 hour flight +1 hour check in limit + 0,5 hours to collect bags – that makes it 5 hours in zipped luggage in cargo hold. No animal could survive that.

    Quick google search points to story in Daily Mail (usual reliable source) from Feb 2nd that states “hand luggage” in capital letters in title itself.

    Very, very sloppy.

  4. that incident is a week old.
    By the way that’s the nearest airport from where I live(1 mile at a time short of 10).

    Glad to see my home airport featured in One Mile At A Time for the first time.

  5. Don’t make this into a cute story. Smuggling animals like this is horrific and must stop. This poor baby was ripped away from it’s mother. And while I’m very happy she was saved, this is a huge problem. We are losing these animals out of the wild at an alarming rate.

  6. Agree with Jill – this is not cute in any way. Disturbing to see it shown as cute & would be preferred to have it shown as illegal & disgusting.

  7. James

    I am from Chennai India. This guy was carrying the Leopard Cub about fifty days old in a Drugged state and wrapped in fabrics in a Basket and as carry on according to detailed local news reports. And He was caught as the Sedative effect had worn off and the Cub made shrill noises as he was walking through the green channel. Lucky for the Cub.

  8. This is awful.
    The baby leopard could have died due to heat, suffocation, hunger and distress. Thank goodness, it was found.

    But the question is, how was the passenger able to leave Bangkok in the first place, because they certainly have body scanners and security control?

    I mean, what next – smuggling a baby elephant?

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