'Survivor' items seized in Houston

December 16, 2008 3:00:48 PM PST
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) seized items from a sea container belonging to the CBS TV reality series "Survivor".[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The items were seized on November 18 at the Port of Houston by CBP Agriculture Specialists and Officers. The initial examination revealed several items identified as possibly restricted or prohibited by USFWS, Center for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Further examination by CBP Agriculture Specialists and USFWS Inspectors revealed a Mandrill skull, Civet hides, and parrot, poultry and ostrich feathers with biological contamination, Cowries shells, and unknown bones commingled within the container. These items serve as host material for exotic pests and disease to enter the U.S.

The inspection also discovered termites in a wooden statue and other articles. Corn infested with pests was also discovered. The contents of the container were fumigated to eliminate the risk of introducing exotic pests into the U.S.

The items found in the shipment are either prohibited or restricted for entry into the United States by the Convention of International Treaty of Endangered Species (CITES), agriculture quarantine, and human health and safety regulations.

"The exploitation of endangered or protected species, as well as the introduction of potentially dangerous exotic pests, is something individual travelers and businesses alike should be aware of," said Jeffery O. Baldwin, Sr., CBP Director of Field Operations, Houston. "Importers and shippers must understand that what they are importing may have serious effects on our nation. Introducing an exotic disease or pest could harm our citizens or devastate our agriculture crops."

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