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August 13, 09

NEWS / CBP in Charleston Combats Illegal Importation of Endangered Species

Charleston, S.C. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in the Port of Charleston recently made six separate seizures that resulted in the recovery of more than 70 endangered wildlife items protected under the Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, officials announced today.

CBP agriculture specialists discovered the items in six separate cargo shipments of antiques arriving from Sweden and the United Kingdom. During inspection of these shipments, several prohibited items were discovered including: hunting trophies, a giant clam shell, sea turtle shell, deer antlers and skulls, ivory piano keys, and assorted stuffed animal mounts.

The items were seized as the importer failed to file a completed Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife, and was also in violation of CITES regulations in regards to the turtle and giant clam shells. Under CITES, both the exporter and importer need to comply with the Convention’s requirements and be certified in the trade of any part of an animal covered by the Convention.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary agency responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act and CITES in the United States. CBP, as the nation’s border agency, works closely with U.S. Fish and Wildlife to ensure that the ESA and CITES is enforced at every port of entry in the United States. The ESA provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found. The goal of CITES is to ensure that international trade of animals does not threaten their survival.

“These interceptions are an excellent example of CBP’s commitment to partnership with other federal agencies and a positive step toward reducing the illegal international trafficking of protected and endangered species,” said Robert A. Fencel, area port director in Charleston.




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