Baltimore CBP Seizes Banned African Elephant Ivory Bracelet
BALTIMORE—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) seized a carved African elephant ivory bracelet from a U.S. citizen on Monday.
On July 5, CBP agriculture specialists noticed the passenger, who was returning from a trip to Liberia, wearing what appeared to be an elephant ivory bracelet and referred her for a secondary inspection. CBP detained the bracelet and contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for a formal determination of the bracelet's composition. The passenger was released.
A USFWS inspector determined Monday that the bracelet was made of banned ivory. CBP seized the jewelry and turned it over to the USFWS inspector.
Poaching of endangered African elephants for their ivory tusks remains a serious international conservation concern. As such, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) continues to ban international commerce in African tusk ivory among its member nations.
According to a CITES report in 2012, elephant poaching levels are the worst in a decade and recorded ivory seizures across the globe are at their highest levels since 1989.
CBP, in collaboration with USFWS, enforces CITES regulations as well as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at our nation's borders.
"While performing our traditional role of enforcing international trade and immigration laws CBP remains vigilant in detecting violations of hundreds of U.S. regulations for many other agencies," said Sheryl Monette Acting Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. "We take our job of enforcing laws that protect endangered animal life very seriously and will aggressively prevent the illegal introduction of these products into the U.S."
CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
To learn more about CITES regulated products, please visit the CITES website.
The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commerce Department's National Marine Fisheries Service administer the ESA. As of January 2013, the FWS has listed 2,054 species worldwide as endangered or threatened, of which 1,436 occur in the United States.
To read USFWS Endangered Species Act Fact Sheet, please view the USFWS Endangered Species Act Fact Sheet.
CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international sea cargo and searches for terrorist weapons, illicit narcotics, stolen vehicles, counterfeit merchandise, prohibited agriculture products and other prohibited items.
In addition to prohibited agriculture product interdiction, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts currency, weapons, narcotics and other illicit items.
Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP's Travel website to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.