Travellers with the UK as their destination has been warned that bringing internationally protected endangered animals or plants, without permission prohibited. Even if the items are legal in other countries they are not allowed in the UK.
The importation of ivory and other items is regulated under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Such species can only be brought into the UK if the correct permits have been applied for and issued by the organisation.
According to Alex Lawther, the UK Border Agency’s assistant director in Wales, ‘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.’
It is claimed that around 5,000 species of animals and 29,000 species of plants are protected by CITES.
Some carved objects made from ivory and an animal foot, alleged to have come from a young hippo, were found after officers on Saturday 14 January examined the belongings of a 58 year old woman from the Cardiff area, who arrived at the airport after flying in from Zambia via Amsterdam.
The woman was interrogated and said she had cleared a relative’s house in Zambia and was unaware that she needed a permit to bring the pieces into the UK.
The woman was allowed to leave the airport after questioning but the items were seized by the agency.