Houston - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists have seen a variety of pests hitching a ride in shipping containers to the U.S. but one furry little hitchhiker was a first in the nation of a different kind.
A small raccoon was found, Oct. 13, scurrying around a shipping container of palletized wood crown moulding that arrived at Barbours Cut Container Terminal.
"The raccoon was found in a container from Chile," said Chief CBP Agriculture Specialist David Burgason. "He was scared but appeared to be unharmed."
CBP contacted other agencies to take custody of the four-legged stowaway but it appeared the raccoon fell into a gray area.
"None of the agencies could take custody of the raccoon, so we had to look at humane societies as alternatives," Burgason said. "Raccoon Cabin, an animal rescue group, agreed to pick him up."
The rescue group picked up the wild animal Oct. 15 only after CBP agreed to capture it.
"I bought a small trap and set cat food out for him," Burgason said. "It wasn't too long after we set it out that he was captured."
The Raccoon Cabin has two locations in Texas and it rescues, rehabilitates and releases wild animals to their natural habitat.
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.