U.S. Fish & Wildlife is working with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to stop the trafficking of illegal animal products, some of which end up in the organization’s “trophy room.”
NBC 7 San Diego met with U.S. Fish & Wildlife agents to talk about the lesser known, but just as lucrative, illegal activity at U.S.-Mexico border crossings. It is illegal to bring any product of an endangered species into the U.S., whether it’s a coat, a skin or even a live animal. U.S. Fish & Wildlife representatives have been working with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to crack down on illegal trade.
Watch this video for more details and a sneak peek at the group’s “trophy room.”
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During the past five years, there have been more than 600 seizures, some with multi-million dollar values. Seized items are made available for scientific, educational or public display uses, and living evidence is donated to zoos that can properly care for the animals.
Many seizures happen at pedestrian crossings, where tourists return with products made of endangered animals. Those who do so unknowingly are not charged with a crime but must surrender their illegal items.
If you’re crossing the border, be careful. If you accidentally buy an illegal product, you may not be charged with a crime, but you will have wasted money and aided in the destruction of an endangered species.