Tuesday 16 July 2019

Customs seizes antelope's head, walrus tusk and teeth of wild cat

The combined value of all items confiscated, all of which were made at Dublin Airport, was €21,710. Stock image
The combined value of all items confiscated, all of which were made at Dublin Airport, was €21,710. Stock image

Brian Hutton

The head of an antelope from Turkmenistan is among a catalogue of unusual seizures by customs officials targeting smugglers at the country's ports and airports.

The ivory tusk of a large walrus from Namibia, the teeth of a wild cat and a reptile, both from Malaysia, as well as coral from the Maldives and Myanmar were also confiscated in recent months, it has been revealed.

A knife, an ornamental box and a statue of lions, all made from ivory and from Namibia, were among other illegal imports seized since January.

Under international restrictions on the trade of ivory, pieces created after 1947 must have a certificate under the 1989 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

The antelope from Turkmenistan is known as an oryx. Some species have become extinct in the African and Arabian wilds in recent decades because of overhunting, among other factors. A scimitar-horned oryx was born in Dublin Zoo last year.

While Revenue routinely publicises its success in intercepting drugs, alcohol and cigarette smuggling, records on other less common seizures were obtained through a freedom of information request.

As well as exotic confiscations, there were weapons, including guns, Tasers, machetes and samurai swords, ammunition, food and even car parts taken from travelling passengers since the start of last year, the files disclose.

Under Cites last year, officials seized a necklace from Nigeria made of hippopotamus ivory, 37 crocodile or alligator teeth from the US, 89 dried insects from Cameroon, a white sea shell from Thailand and two boxes of birds' nests from Malaysia.

The combined value of all items confiscated, all of which were made at Dublin Airport, was €21,710. Revenue said it has anti-smuggling teams at all main ports and airports and at the main postal depots, which routinely profile imports and exports and carry out X-ray examinations and physical examinations.

Irish Independent

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