Foot of Hippo and Ivory from Zambia seized at UK airport

Foot of Hippo and Ivory from Zambia seized at UK airport

Actual foot of hippo seized at Airport

Ten carved ivory ornaments and the foot of a hippopotamus have been seized from a passenger at Cardiff Airport by the UK Border Agency.
On Saturday 14 January, a 58-year-old woman from the Cardiff area arrived at the airport after flying in from Zambia via Amsterdam.
Officers searched her baggage and found ten carved items made from ivory and an animal foot – believed to have come from a young hippo.
The woman was questioned and said she had cleared a relative’s house in Zambia and was unaware that she needed a licence to bring the items into the UK.
The importation of ivory and other items is restricted under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and they can only be brought into the UK if the correct permits have been applied for and issued.
The items were seized by the agency and the woman was allowed to leave the airport after questioning.
Alex Lawther, UK Border Agency Assistant Director in Wales, said:
“Just because items like this are legal in other countries, it doesn’t mean they can be brought into the UK.
“Travellers should be aware of the rules on restricted or banned items. You are not allowed to bring internationally protected endangered animals and plants, including products made from them, into the country unless you have a CITES permit.
“UK Border Agency officers at Cardiff Airport take their role in enforcing international agreements like CITES very seriously and anyone tempted to bring items of this nature through the airport should think again.”
Around 5,000 species of animals and 29,000 species of plants are protected by CITES.
The seizure at Cardiff Airport came just weeks after UK Border Agency officers at London’s Heathrow Airport seized a live African cheetah.
The big cat landed at Heathrow on 22 December 2011 and was due to transit on to Russia.
Checks revealed that the animal was not micro-chipped and therefore not identifiable and it was seized under CITES regulations. It will now be re-homed at a UK wildlife park.
Anyone who has information on suspected smuggling or immigration offences can visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/report-crime/

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