Customs officials at the Chennai airport claim to have rescued a one-month-old leopard cub from the checked-in baggage of a passenger from Bangkok.
"A 45 year old Chennai based man Kaja Moideen who works in Kuala Lumpur has been arrested and investigation is on," Customs Commissioner Rajan Chaudhary said.
After an examination by veterinarians, the cub has been moved to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai.
In a video released by officials, the exhausted cub is seen being fed milk using a feeding bottle. Another video shows it actively moving on a sofa.
Air Intelligence officials say they cornered the man when he hurriedly left the area after collecting his baggage. A faint trill sound was also reportedly coming from his baggage. Following his evasive reply, his trolley baggage was opened and the leopard cub was found in a pink basket.
Officials say the man had come on Thai airways flight and they suspect him to be a courier. "He says he was supposed to handover it to someone at the Chennai airport. We made him wait, but no one came," a said a senior officer.
The man has been handed over to forest authorities for further action.