Wildlife Trade: BUYER BEWARE!

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Some souvenirs you buy overseas could end up costing a lot more than you paid for them.

If you were on a trip overseas and bought one of these souvenirs, which one would be confiscated (taken away) by customs officers upon your return?

  1. an alligator wallet
  2. zebra rug
  3. black coral earrings
  4. a volcano rock

Going abroad? Think twice about the things you buy. If they're made from the hides, shells, feathers, or teeth of endangered species&endash;and it's quite possible that they are&endash;you risk their seizure by government inspectors and may face a substantial fine.

Seemingly innocuous products made from tortoise shell, coral, ivory, and reptile skin, for example, are available in market places all over the world. But just because wildlife items are on sale in another country does not necessarily mean that they are legal to import ot the United States. Travelers don't realize that several U.S. laws and an international treaty make it a crime to bring many of these wildlife souvenirs into our country.

How much do you know about buying any wildlife overseas? If you are considering the purchase of a live animal or plant or a product made from one, you should take this QUIZ.

Authors: Shelly Peretz, Thornridge High School in Dolton, Illinois
Handbook of Engaged Learning Projects sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab. Funded by the North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium based at the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Created: July, 1997