Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Philadelphia recently encountered a taxidermied species of finch that is categorized under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as an Appendix 1 species, which are species most in danger of extinction.
CBP discovered the finch August 28 in a shipment manifested as “bird sculpture” that arrived from the Netherlands and was destined to an address in Atlanta. The shipment did not have a required U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) import certificate nor a CITES permit.
CBP worked with USFWS inspectors and identified the finch as Spinus cucullatus (alternative scientific name Carduelis cucullata) commonly known as a Red Siskin Finch, a CITES Appendix 1 species. Commercial trade in Appendix I wild collected specimens are strictly prohibited except in some instances for conservation purposes or for scientific research.
CBP turned the specimen over to USFWS inspectors.
“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance while inspecting a wide variety of parcels every day for prohibited products that pose a potential threat to our nation’s agriculture and our economy, including unpermitted taxidermied fowl which could serve as a potential vector for avian influenza,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office.
The USFWS, U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulate the importation of animals and animal products into the United States. Consignees and importers should consult their websites to ensure they comply with licensing, certification, and importation requirements.
CBP agriculture specialists perform a critical border security role in safeguarding America’s agricultural and natural resources from harmful pests and plant diseases. They have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection, inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States.
During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 4,552 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil, and intercepted 319 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry.