SEATTLE — U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport discovered a variety of prohibited ivory products in the luggage of a husband and wife who arrived on a flight from the Philippines on May 11.
“While performing our traditional role of enforcing trade and immigration laws CBP is vigilant at identifying and intercepting products that violate hundreds of regulations for numerous other agencies,” said Mark Wilkerson, Area Port Director for the Area Port of Seattle. “We take our job of enforcing laws that protect endangered species seriously and work hard to prevent the illegal importation of these products.”
CBP agriculture specialists discovered the ivory when the travelers’ luggage was X-rayed and they noticed inconsistencies in one of the bags. When the bag was opened, Agriculture Specialists found 34 pieces of carved elephant ivory, two carved hippopotamus tusks and two carved warthog tusks.
The agriculture specialists contacted inspectors from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who inspected and seized the items. The couple also received a $500 fine for transporting the items in violation of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
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.