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Travelers to UK warned not bring globally protected endangered animals, plants

The warning came after the foot of a hippopotamus and 10 carved ivory ornaments were seized from a passenger at Cardiff airport by the UK Border Agency.

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Travelers coming to the UK have been warned not bring internationally protected endangered animals and plants, without permission, even if the items are legal in other countries.

The importation of ivory and other items is restricted under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and they can only be brought into the UK if the correct permits have been applied for and issued.

The UK Border Agency’s assistant director in Wales Alex Lawther said: 'Just because items like this are legal in other countries, it doesn't mean they can be brought into the UK.

'Travellers should be aware of the rules on restricted or banned items. You are not allowed to bring internationally protected endangered animals and plants, including products made from them, into the country unless you have a CITES permit.

'UK Border Agency officers at Cardiff airport take their role in enforcing international agreements like CITES very seriously and anyone tempted to bring items of this nature through the airport should think again.'

The assertion is significant as around 5,000 species of animals and 29,000 species of plants are protected by CITES.

The carved items made from ivory and an animal foot, believed to have come from a young hippo, were found after officers on Saturday 14 January searched the baggage of a 58 year old woman from the Cardiff area, who arrived at the airport after flying in from Zambia via Amsterdam.

The woman was questioned and said she had cleared a relative's house in Zambia and was unaware that she needed a licence to bring the items into the UK.

The items were seized by the agency and the woman was allowed to leave the airport after questioning.

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