LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists (CBPAS) intercepted 11 whitetail trophy deer hides infested with live ticks over a 10-day period at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge.
“Our CBP agriculture specialists are vigilant, well versed in the biological sciences and dedicated to ensuring that dangerous pests such as the cattle fever tick do not enter the U.S. as hitchhiker pests aboard trophy whitetail deer hides,” said Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “Upholding CBP’s agriculture mission is important in safeguarding the economic security of the nation and preventing untold adverse impact on the U.S. cattle industry posed by pests such as the cattle fever tick.”
The Mexican hunting season will be coming to a close in the coming weeks and with it an increase in the return of hunters with their trophies. CBPAS have been on the frontlines inspecting said trophies for any possible hitchhiking pests that may pose a threat to the U.S. agriculture industry. Over the last 10 days, CBPAS have inspected 94 trophy racks and 22 deer hide entries. Eleven of those trophy deer hides were refused entry or seized because they were found to have live or dead ticks, including one hide with 41 live ticks. Two hunters received penalties for failing to declare and attempting to conceal their trophy hides.
The importation of hunter-harvested Mexican whitetail deer trophies is regulated by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) Veterinary Services, as well as U.S. Fish & Wildlife and Council on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora guidelines, to prevent the spread of disease and must be presented for inspection. Of particular concern is the spread of Bovine Babesiosis, commonly known as Texas cattle fever. Mexican whitetail deer are hosts to the cattle fever tick known as Rhipicephalus (formerly Boophilus) annulatus and R. microplus that spreads this pathogen. Once infected, cattle without prior exposure experience anemia, fever and enlargement of the spleen and liver and have a mortality rate of up to 90%. Nine of the ticks submitted for identification have been tentatively identified as Rhipicephalus sp., the cattle fever tick; the others are still pending identification. USDA estimates that, left uncontrolled, Texas cattle fever could cost the livestock industry approximately $1 billion annually.
CBP agriculture specialists work diligently to fulfill CBP’s agriculture mission by excluding harmful pests and diseases from becoming established in the US. For more information about CBP’s agriculture mission, click on the following link. For more information in non-native pests, click on the following link. More information on Texas cattle fever can be found on the following link and its eradication efforts.
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.