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Monday 16 September 2019

A dried bat, moose horn and 37 crocodile teeth - the strange items people have tried to smuggle into Ireland by post

Moose horn was seized by Customs teams at An Post
Moose horn was seized by Customs teams at An Post

Darragh McDonagh

A horse's tail, a dried bat, a moose horn and 37 crocodile teeth were among the strange items people have tried to smuggle into the State by post during the past two years.

The contraband came from countries including Cameroon, Indonesia, India and Japan, and was seized by Customs' anti-smuggling teams at An Post's Portlaoise mail centre.

All animal-related imports must undergo a veterinary inspection before entering the jurisdiction, while the movement of certain species is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

A package containing 89 dried insects was intercepted by the Customs Division of Revenue in Portlaoise in May 2018. The parcel had been posted from Cameroon, where insects are a popular delicacy.

In July 2018, anti-smuggling personnel seized a package containing two exotic beetles, which were alive when they reached the mail centre, having survived the long journey from Japan.

A total of 37 crocodile or alligator teeth from the US were discovered in a parcel during the same month, while a dozen eggs from the US were also seized the next day.

A horse's tail and a calf rawhide from Australia were seized separately at the mail centre on the same date in June 2017. A moose horn from Canada was intercepted two months later.

Other animal-related seizures during 2017 and 2018 included a dried bat from Indonesia, and seven "bird cape feathers" from India.

In 2016, a consignment of eight alligator heads, an active bird's nest, and a package containing up to 4,000 live bees were seized at the mail centre.

At Dublin Airport during the same year, a hippo's tusk and a crocodile head were among the animal-related items seized.

A spokesperson for Revenue said officers "carry out X-rays and physical examinations based on risk assessment".

Irish Independent

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