BANGKOK (Reuters): Dozens of live monkeys tied up in small sacks have been found in an abandoned building in central Thailand, national media reported on Thursday (Feb 17), in what authorities believe was a failed operation by illicit wildlife traffickers.
Footage from broadcaster Nation TV showed police and wildlife protection officers in the building in Saraburi province inspecting plastic crates containing sealed blue mesh bags with monkeys in each of them.
The video shows some monkeys trying to scamper away while still inside bags that were secured with string and plastic zip ties.
Wirom Wanalee, a resident, told Nation TV she and neighbours heard the monkeys' cries and found nearly 100 of them in the building.
They released most of them by cutting open the bags before reporting their discovery to police, Wirom said.
The Department of National Parks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Officers from the parks department arrived to collect the remaining monkeys and take them to a wildlife quarantine centre near the capital, Bangkok, Nation TV said.
Thailand and the wider South-East Asia is home to some of the world's most diverse flora and fauna, but the region has suffered from rampant poaching and trafficking of wildlife.
The pandemic halted much of the lucrative trade, but it is now picking back up as countries lift border restrictions, according to the United Nations.