Tiger claw products seized at Suffolk port
Thursday 16 August 2012
Herbal remedies and massage oils containing ground tiger claws, poisonous plants and cow urine have been seized by border officials at a UK port.
The illegally imported products, bound for an address in Birmingham, were discovered by officials at Felixstowe Port in Suffolk in a consignment of 45 large cardboard boxes which had travelled from India.
It is the first time ground tiger claws, which may have come from tigers which were illegally poached, have been found by customs in the UK, Border Force said.
Cow urine, poisonous plants, and goat meat were also found in the ingredients of the 450ml herbal remedy and five-litre massage oil bottles.
Officials examining the load also found several large cockroaches that had fermented in the boxes.
The import and export of tiger derivatives is strictly controlled under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and items can only be brought into or sent out of the EU if the correct permits have been applied for and issued, Border Force said.
Details of the seizure have been referred to customs authorities in India, which will decide whether to take further action against the exporter.
The importer in Birmingham has also been contacted and issued with a warning following the find, Border Force said.
Lance Cruse, from Border Force at Felixstowe, said: "We are on the look-out for endangered species and products of animal origin. Unregulated imports can harm the survival of rare species as well as potentially bringing diseases into the UK.
"It is likely that the ground tiger claws would have come from tigers that were illegally poached.
"The illicit trade in animal products like tiger claws is a serious contributory factor to the threat of extinction faced by many endangered species. That is why the law around moving them is so strict."
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