By Yalda Mostajeran
A taxidermied tiger was apprehended for illegal importation into the United States.
Lions and taxidermied tigers -- oh my?
The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a forfeiture action for the return of a life-size, to-scale taxidermied female tiger on Wednesday, according to a press release.
A captive-bred female tiger born on September 26, 2000, that had been stuffed was seized at the Port of Newark, said the complaint. Its owner attempted to import the tiger during a household move from France.
The owner is under custody of the United States Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.
The United States joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. CITES is what prevented the unfortunately stuffed animal from crossing into the U.S.
This convention aimed to protect species that “are, or may become, threatened with extinction by international trade” according to court documents.
Tigers have been classified as endangered by CITES for more than 27 years, meaning that transport of this species dead or alive is absolutely prohibited. The only way someone can transport a tiger or any other endangered animal into the United States is by receiving an export permit from the originating country and an import permit from United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The lucky tiger has tried to cross into the country before. The USFWS refused shipment of the tiger on January 2, 2015 then seized the tiger on January 9. Wanting his glorious tiger, the owner contested the charges on April 1, 2015. At that point, the government had to release the property to the owner or bring the forfeiture action to court.