ANZALDUAS, Texas –Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry have intercepted and seized an elephant skull that lacked proper ownership and exportation documentation, as required under U.S. and international law.
“Our CBP officers and agriculture specialists partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to enforce federal wildlife laws that protect vulnerable and endangered species,” said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr., Hidalgo/ Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “CBP and FWS have worked together to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, and this inter-agency cooperation is critical to our success.”
On June 22, a CBP officer referred a truck to secondary after the driver, from Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico declared an elephant skull. The driver had been directed back to the U.S. after Mexico did not allow the importation of the skull. The man could not produce any documentation of ownership or the required FWS permits to authorize lawful exportation of the elephant skull, in the first instance.
The elephant skull was seized and turned over to the FWS as the elephant, Loxodonta africana, is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
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.