Hypothetical case

Allison Anderson aaa at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Feb 22 13:22:11 CST 1999


My understanding is that US Customs and USFWS inspections are independent
processes.  I believe that Customs will seize an item for payment of tariff,
etc., and its concern is with the commercial value of the item.  However, if
the Customs inspector knows or suspects the item contains materials from
listed species, he/she would probably notify the local USFWS inspector.

As for the first part of the question: assuming the item was *legally*
exported from Country A, I think the matter is between the individual who
imports the item and Customs/USFWS.  Illegal exports are another ball of


Allison Anderson
Collection Manager, Texas Natural History Collection
Texas Memorial Museum, University of Texas
aaa at mail.utexas.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: Biological Systematics Discussion List
[mailto:TAXACOM at cmsa.Berkeley.EDU]On Behalf Of Sally Shelton
Sent: Monday, February 22, 1999 12:25 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM
Subject: Hypothetical case

A question I got from a museum studies student following a review of
wildlife laws:

If an artifact containing wildlife parts (e.g. a headdress with feathers
from listed species) is purchased in Country A, but seized by Customs upon
the purchaser's entering Country B, what (if any) obligation does Country B
have to Country A? Should Country B notify Country A that the item has been
seized? Should Country B attempt to repatriate the item to the government of
Country A? Is Country B justified if it reposits the item in its own
governmental repository or museum withourt notifying Country A?

If the US is Country B, at what point does USFWS enter the picture if such
an item is seized by Customs?

Thanks for your help.

Sally Shelton
Collections Officer
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
phone (202) 786-2601, FAX (202) 786-2328
email <Shelton.Sally at nmnh.si.edu>

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