HOUSTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the George Bush Intercontinental Aircraft were notified by aircraft operations employees Feb. 18 about a baby squirrel discovered aboard an aircraft.
The aircraft had just arrived from Costa Rica and passengers had deplaned when aircraft employees spotted the tiny squirrel.
“During the course of performing our mission, we may encounter unusual opportunities to aid in the capture of seemingly harmless animals that have hitchhiked into the country,” said CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “While there is a cute factor here, realistically, we understand that animals must be handled carefully.”
A CBP officer and CBP agriculture specialist boarded the aircraft and caged the squirrel without incident. The tiny animal was quarantined and given food and water until a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspector could take custody of the baby squirrel. CBP works closely with USFWS, the agency responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act. USFWS also works with various partners to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and their habitat.
The exact species of the baby squirrel that is believed to have arrived from Costa Rica is still unknown, as USFWS is contacting the Houston Zoo to assist in identifying the squirrel’s species and finding an appropriate home for the furry stowaway.
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.