Thailand: Wildlife Trafficker Arrested with 16 Tiger Cubs

In northern Thailand, a suspect identified as Faren Kongfu was arrested with 16 tiger cubs in his vehicle. Photo via ITV/YouTube.

A suspect identified as Faren Kongfu has been arrested in northern Thailand after 16 baby tigers were found in his vehicle.

Kongfu claims that he was paid 15,000 Thai baht (US $489) to transport the tiger cubs — some appear to be just a few weeks old — from Nonthaburi Province to Udon Thani Province in the country’s northeast near Laos, according to ITV News. He faces the possibility of just four years in jail or a 40,000 baht (US $1,301) fine. The confiscated cubs are said to be under the care of wildlife officials in Thailand.

The baby tigers were likely bred in captivity at one of the many “tiger farms” masquerading as “zoos” throughout Southeast Asia and China. These facilities utilize loopholes in the CITES permit system as a front for trafficking tigers and tiger parts. Thailand’s notorious “Tiger Temple” is particularly problematic, and is suspected of supplying tigers to the illegal market while operating under the guise of a tourist attraction.

Approximately 3,200 tigers are still surviving in the wild.

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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.