USFWS Creates Trophy Shipment Problems With New Document Requirements


Published: August - 2008

If you are importing or hunting any CITES species this season you need to know that US Fish & Wildlife Service is creating a huge trophy shipping boondoggle by enforcing those new paperwork requirements we've been telling you about. Essentially, the service is requiring that all CITES paperwork be filled out letter-perfect. The first indication of just how big this problem was going to get occurred when the Service began rejecting CITES trophy exports from Zimbabwe because the form officials were using in that country did not provide a place for all of the new information the service required. Now, the Service is stopping any CITES trophy shipment from any country that has any kind of error in the accompanying documentation. Dozens of trophy shipments from Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Tajikistan have already been returned. Some have been seized. Worse yet, the Service has announced that it will soon begin seizing and destroying shipments en masse and holding the hunter responsible for improperly filled out CITES forms.

The crux of the problem is that shippers and customs officials in the range nations are not filling out the necessary CITES paperwork according to requirements by US Fish & Wildlife Service and CITES, and the Service is ruling that such documents are invalid. This makes the shipments illegal, according to the Service. Right now, the Service is still giving hunters faced with this problem the choice of returning the shipment to the country of origin or having it seized, with the understanding that they can appeal the seizure. John J. Jackson, III, of Conservation Force says allowing the Service to seize your shipment is NOT the right way to handle this problem. He says it will cost more in attorney's fees to appeal the seizure than it will to return the trophies and re-ship them with the proper paperwork. Also, he warns that the appeals process can take up to two years, and there is no guarantee of success.

Jackson wrote about these new requirements in his Conservation Force Bulletin last September when the Service first implemented the highly stringent paperwork........(continued)

 
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