Airports are some of the busiest places in the world with millions of people passing through carrying countless items of luggage.
At the same time, there are countless cargo boxes arriving which all need to be checked.
This 16-inch tall wooden box with a few holes punched in it sat at Beirut, Lebanon Airport for seven days before staff decided to inspect the suspicious cargo.
What they found inside horrified animal lovers around the world.
The box had come from the Ukraine but because it wasn’t labeled properly had sat at the airport for seven days.
When staff were eventually alerted to this mysterious box they decided they should inspect it.
What they found inside gave them the surprise of their lives.
Covered in maggots
Staff discovered three endangered Siberian tiger cubs in a sorry state and extremely weak.
The four-month-old babies were covered in urine and feces and had been living in very cramped conditions surrounded by maggots.
It was a miracle that they were all still alive.
The cubs were being sent from Nikolaev Zoo in Ukraine to the Samer al-Husainawi Zoo in Damascus, Syria.
They were starving, dehydrated and infested with maggots.
Nursed back to health
Animal welfare charity Animals Lebanon suspected shady dealing in the case of these three cubs and petitioned to a judge to have them released into their care.
The judge granted their request and the charity provided the cubs with a big open space to run around, and much needed medical treatment.
The charity’s wildlife veterinarian worked hard to nurse them back to health.
“Their paw pads were raw and red from being covered in urine, as were their back legs and thighs,” Animals Lebanon wrote.
“They had not received the proper vaccinations so all three were vaccinated. Only one tiger was found to have a microchip, though documents state that all three should have been microchipped.”
With so much paperwork missing and the tigers found in a crate that did not meet interantional shipping standards Animals Lebanon suspected these tigers were being sold.
“Big cats can be worth tens of thousands of dollars on the black market. The owner is fighting to get them back,” Animals Lebanon wrote. “And we are fighting for the tigers.”
The charity had a battle on their hands if they were to keep the tigers in their care.
But in May 2017, the gratifying news came that the Ministry of Agriculture ruled the tigers should stay in the care of Animals Lebanon.
“Almost two months after the three tigers were trafficked to Lebanon and stuck in a box for seven days, they are one step closer to safety,” the charity wrote on Facebook .
Had it not been for the animal rights organization, these tigers could have been sold on the black market and endured a life a misery.
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