By Steve Neavling
CBP agents opening a suspicious shipment of chili peppers from Thailand made a shocking discovery: An endangered primate, numerous turtle bones, and dried frogs and insects.
The prohibited wildlife products were headed to Buffalo.
“Our agriculture specialists work to protect our U.S. crops and food supply each and every day,” Cincinnati Supervisory Agriculture Specialist Barbara Hassan said in a news release. “Often, we encounter shipments like these, which are of interest not only to CBP but to other federal agencies as well. Our specialists are trained to identify products of concern for more than 40 regulatory agencies, and they excel at pinpointing shipments that are worthy of a closer look.”
Authorities referred the shipment to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, where scientists identified the primate as an endangered lorisidae, a slim arboreal animal that lives in Southeast Asia and tropical, central Africa.
“U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors, along with Customs and Border Protection, continue to produce excellent results by impacting the illegal wildlife trade,” Supervisory Wildlife Inspector Denise Larison said. “Wildlife trafficking remains a significant threat to thousands of plant and animal species around globe. Thanks to this great partnership, we were once again able to prevent the unlawful importation of protected species and disrupt the illegal market for these precious animals.”