BANGKOK: Thai customs officials said on Friday they had seized four boxes of smuggled tiger skins and bones worth tens of thousands of dollars in the post, believed to be destined for interior decoration.
The tigers, whose parts were found earlier this week, were thought to have come from Indonesia and eventually be destined for China, according to Somchai Poolsawasdi, director general of Royal Thai Customs.
“There were four boxes, and each box contained one tiger skin, bones and a skull. Each one weighed around five kilograms (11 pounds),” he told AFP.
He said the parcels, thought to be sent be a trafficking gang, were en route to Mae Sai in northern Thailand and came through Bangkok's main post office, where officials received the tip-off.
“The way they processed these tigers, I think they were meant for furniture or decoration,” he added.
Anti-trafficking group Freeland said the tiger parts were worth an estimated $60,000, warning that the poaching and trafficking of tiger meat, bones and skin was a key cause of the declining wild Asian tiger populations.
“The confiscation of these tiger skins and bones is commendable and has clearly hurt the criminals financially,” said Tim Redford of Freeland.
“However, with so few tigers left in the wild, stopping any more ending up like this is vital.”
Thailand is one of just 13 countries hosting fragile tiger populations and is a hub of international smuggling. Worldwide, numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 tigers from approximately 100,000 a century ago.