Border officers in Nogales this week seized what wildlife experts believe to be the tanned hide of an endangered cat.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, its officers at the Mariposa Port of Entry referred a motorhome for further agricultural inspection after initial questioning on Monday.
“During the course of their inspection, specialists found what appeared to be the pelt of a large spotted cat,” CBP said in a news release, adding that the owner said a friend in Mexico had given him the pelt.
CBP agriculture specialists detained the skin on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and when Fish and Wildlife inspectors arrived Tuesday, they determined that it is likely that of a large ocelot, a species threatened with extinction and protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The pelt was turned over to Fish and Wildlife as the investigation continues, CBP said.