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Baltimore CBP Nets Taxidermied Atlantic Puffin

Release Date: 
June 13, 2017

BALTIMORE – Just when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists think they’ve seen it all, a taxidermied Atlantic Puffin waddles across their inspection desk.

CBP agriculture specialists seized a taxidermied Atlantic Puffin at BWI.
CBP agriculture specialists seized a
taxidermied Atlantic Puffin at BWI.

Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) are prohibited under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs or such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations [50 CFR 10.13].

A traveler arrived to Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) from Iceland on June 2 in possession of the stuffed migratory bird.  CBP notified U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  The USFWS seized the Atlantic Puffin on June 6.

“Customs and Border Protection enforces all manner of agriculture protection laws, including laws concerning threatened and endangered animal species,” said Dianna Bowman, CBP Area Port Director for the Area Port of Baltimore.  “CBP agriculture specialists are our nation’s frontline protectors of our nation’s agriculture industries and they take their job very serious.”

According to the National Audubon Society, puffins are not endangered, but they are threatened by human activities.  Puffin colonies are rare in many areas where they were once abundant due to impacts to critical puffin breeding and feeding habitat.  Read more about the bird known as "clown of the ocean" and "sea parrot."

CBP released the traveler without penalty.

“Customs and Border Protection collaborates with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to enforce more than 400 laws on travelers and goods entering the United States at our nation’s 328 ports of entry,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP Director, Baltimore Field Operations.  “CBP’s border enforcement authority is one way in which we help to keep our communities safe.”

CBP Agriculture Specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection.  On a typical day nationally, they inspect over 1 million people as well as air, land and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,638 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 404 agriculture pests and diseases.

Learn more about CBP’s agriculture protection mission.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S.  In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.  Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2016.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

Learn more about CBP at CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
June 13, 2017