02/21/2014 04:15 pm ET | Updated Feb 22, 2014

Tiger Cubs Saved From Suspected Smugglers In Thailand (VIDEO)

Five tiger cubs were rescued from suspected smugglers in Thailand on Thursday.

Two men were arrested after police discovered a massive haul of wildlife stashed in the back of a pick-up truck. According to the Bangkok Post, Thai police arrested 36-year-old Wisanu Netsawang and 22-year-old Chakraphan Khamkhotesoon and charged both men with illegal possession of protected animals.

Netsawang and Khamkhotesoon were driving in northwest Thailand when police stopped them at a checkpoint. When officers looked under the black plastic sheet stretched over the back up the pick-up authorities said they discovered boxes and sacks filled with live animals.

In total, police reportedly recovered five newborn tiger cubs, 312 water monitors (a type of lizard), 174 turtles and 11 tortoises, according to ITN. All animals were alive but in weak condition. The tiger cubs and reptiles will be taken to Thailand's Wildlife and Natural Resources department for rehabilitation.

Authorities believe the men were on their way to Laos and the animals were intended to be used in medicines and delicacies, BBC News reports. The suspects reportedly confessed they were hired to transport the animals to the border.

"The final destination is either Vietnam or China where they like to eat these animals," Capt. Pornchai Sangsila told the Agence France-Presse. "The tigers will normally be kept in Laos for one year to be raised before being sold on."

It's not the first time someone in Thailand has been caught trying to smuggle a live tiger, which is considered endangered. In 2010, a tiger cub was found drugged and hidden in a suitcase that was filled with stuffed tiger toys.


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