Truck Driver Gets Kicked Out Of Mexico With Worst Possible Cargo
Late last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers came across a startling discovery after a truck trying to enter Mexico was sent back to the U.S. with a particularly disturbing item.
The truck was intercepted at Texas' Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry and officials were met with none other than an elephant skull.
The truck driver was denied entry into Mexico due to lacking "proper ownership and exportation documentation, as required under U.S. and international law," CBP said in a press release.
"This is the first seizure of an elephant skull at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry in recent memory," Rick Pauza, a public affairs officer with CBP, told The Dodo.
The skull once belonged to a living African elephant, which is listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Yet, sadly, hunting elephants for sport is still legal in a number of African countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Cameroon and Gabon, which often have loopholes in conservation laws allowing for the export of these "trophies" after the animals are killed.
"In this case, [the] likelihood is that the person in possession of the item was going to keep it as a trophy," Phillip Land, assistant special agent in charge of the Southwest region for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), said in a statement to The Dodo.
The skull was confiscated, and now resides in the possession of the FWS.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to educate the public about elephants and can use confiscated items to support that education," Land said. "Every day we come into contact with these items across our country." he said.
The death of Cecil the lion, who was killed by a trophy hunter a little over a year ago, has started a movement calling for increased protections for animals targeted by trophy hunting and other industries, and a few major victories have occurred since. But there's still a long way to go before the transport of elephant skulls, or any other animal's body part, becomes outlawed - and it's understood that these animals are worth so much more alive.
Watch this video about an elephant who was shot in the head ... and then walked up to people for help: