Suspiciously light tube attracted customs officers. Feathers of endangered bird species found inside
West Pomerianian branch of the National Revenue Administration (KAS) has found feathers of birds of prey protected under the Washington Convention. The parcel was sent in Serbia and its contents were supposed to reach the Polish city of Koszalin.
The parcel which attracted the attention of Szczecin customs officers had the shape of a long tube and was very light. It turned out it contained a few bird feathers tens of centimetres long.
"CITES coordinator from KAS confirmed those feathers belonged to birds of prey - griffon vulture, bearded vulture and Andean condor. All these species are on the CITES endangered species list," Szczecin Chamber of Fiscal Administration spokesperson Małgorzata Brzoza said.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) - also known as the Washington Convention - is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
"Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction," CITES says at its webiste.
"Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future," CITES says.
According to Małgorzata Brzoza, the convention (Washington Convention - edit.) assigns species to four groups, of which group A are species at the highest risk of extinction. The birds whose feathers were found in the parcel belong to group A.
"If someone wanted to legally import this sort of items they they should hold adequate permits, which are issued very rarely when it comes to such species. Trading in them is strictly monitored," she stressed.
The feathers have been handed over to the investigative unit.
Customs need to stay alert
Assessing the contents of mail parcels is quite a challenge for customs officers.
"The contents of checked parcels vary a lot, which requires the officers to possess extensive knowledge in many fields. Our "mail" officers have already demonstrated high alertness more than once. The items they have seized under CITES include pharmaceuticals containing powdered seahorse, pieces of varanid, ostrich and beaver skins, crocodile skull, but we haven't had feathers before," Małgorzata Brzoza added.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, tvn24.pl
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Krajowa Administracja Skarbowa