U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers rescued an illegally-trafficked tiger cub from a traveler who attempted to bring it into California from Mexico early Wednesday morning.
On August 23, at about 1:30 a.m., an 18-year-old man arrived at the Otay Mesa port of entry driving a 2017 Chevy Camaro, with a 21-year-old man in the passenger seat.
The CBP officer conducting the inspection referred the vehicle and occupants for further inspection.
CBP officers searched the vehicle and discovered a tiger cub lying on the floor of the front passenger side.
Officers removed the tiger cub from the vehicle and placed it in an animal crate until agents from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service responded to the border crossing.
(Learn More. Near Denver’s abandoned Stapleton International Airport sits what’s probably the most macabre collection of property owned by the U.S. government. Courtesy of CNN and YouTube)
“CBP officers are often faced with unusual situations,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego.
“The CBP officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry met the challenge head on and assisted in preserving the life of this endangered species.”
Agents from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service took custody of the tiger cub and are working with the San Diego Zoo Global to ensure its well-being.
More than 20 years ago, customs agents working at the San Ysidro port of entry intercepted an alleged smuggling attempt to move a tiger cub out of California and into Mexico.
The United States is a party in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly known as CITES.
This treaty regulates trade in endangered species of wildlife, plants and their products.
(Learn More, from Brett Tollman & CITES Secretary General John Scanlon interviewed by Steven Sackur, courtesy of TTC Digital and YouTube)
International trade in species listed by CITES is illegal unless authorized by permit.