Rare animal parts seized by customs

BUFFALO skulls, protected wood and endangered coral were seized in separate swoops by customs officers at the port of Felixstowe, it emerged today. The ten buffalo skulls, some of which were highly polished and decorated with intricate carvings, were discovered in a commercial shipment from Indonesia which was intercepted January 25.

BUFFALO skulls, protected wood and endangered coral were seized in separate swoops by customs officers at the port of Felixstowe, it emerged today.

The ten buffalo skulls, some of which were highly polished and decorated with intricate carvings, were discovered in a commercial shipment from Indonesia which was intercepted January 25.

They were described as animal products but there was no mandatory health certificate accompanying them.

The coral was found among a consignment of dry sea shells which arrived on February 10 from China, intended for the art and crafts market.


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The protected stony cup corals, usually found in South East Asia or Taiwan, were seized because it is protected under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) legislation.

Meanwhile, more than 350 packs of dolls house miniatures made from Ramin, a protected type of wood native to peat swamp forests in Asia, were found late last year in a freight container from Taiwan.

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Ramin is found and often illegally removed from the prime orang-utan habitats and protected reserves in South East Asia.

The seized coral and Ramin will be used for educational and training purposes.

Maddy Ratnett, from revenue and customs, said: “We take our role in enforcing international agreements and prohibitions designed to preserve our natural environment very seriously.

“The illicit trade in endangered animals is one of the most serious global problems of our time.”

There are more than 5,000 species of animals and 28,000 species of plants which are protected by CITES.

Some of the more common examples include gorillas, chimpanzees, giant pandas, rhinoceroses, parrots, cacti, orchids and even snowdrops.

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