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CBP Intercepts Endangered Sea Turtle Eggs in Atlanta

Release Date: 
September 15, 2010

Atlanta - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport intercepted a collection of endangered sea turtle eggs, officials announced today.

Thirty-five freshly harvested sea turtle eggs were found within the luggage of a passenger arriving from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The eggs had already deteriorated beyond the chance of survival when discovered.

Endangered sea turtle eggs confiscated from a passenger by CBP officers in Atlanta.

Endangered sea turtle eggs confiscated from a passenger by CBP officers in Atlanta.

CBP agriculture specialists routinely seize goods confiscated from passengers who either inadvertently bring prohibited items into the country or blatantly ignore laws banning importation of certain items.

Sea turtles and their eggs are protected by both the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The goal of CITES is to ensure that international trade in animals does not threaten their survival.

"Late summer typically marks the beginning of sea turtle egg harvest season in parts of Central America when sea turtles make their way onto the beaches of the Central American coast of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Our agriculture specialists are aware of the possibility of passengers from these areas having the potential to be carrying these items during this time of the year," said Stephen Kremer, CBP area port director for Atlanta.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary agency responsible for enforcing CITES in the U.S. CBP works in tandem with FWS to ensure CITES is enforced at every port of entry in the U.S.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017