11 July 2024

Thai wildlife officials and police intercepted a shipment of 47 macaque monkeys on a pickup truck this morning (Monday), at a checkpoint on Friendship highway in Non Sung district of the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima.

The two men in the truck were arrested after the officials found the monkeys, which are believed to be being shipped to China through Laos.

The driver of the truck, Kritaya, reportedly told the officials that they took delivery of the monkeys in Ratchaburi province, to be delivered to a customer in the province of Nong Khai, opposite Vientiane of Laos, who would then have sent the monkeys on to China.

He claimed, however, that he did not know that the monkeys are protected species and cannot be traded without a license.

Some of the monkeys appeared to be weak, after being crammed together in boxes for many hours, and were treated by vets.

Wildlife officials said that all the primates were to be slaughtered and turned to traditional folk medicine upon arrival in China.

All of them will now, however, be sent to a wildlife propagation centre in Khon San district of Chaiyaphum, while the two suspects have been sent to Non Song police station to face charges of trafficking in protected species.