During the inspection at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing point in Korczowa in the Podkarpackie region, south-eastern Poland, the National Revenue Administration (KAS) officers prevented the smuggling of a taxidermied crocodile of a protected, endangered species.
The taxidermy animal was discovered in the trunk of a passenger Peugeot.
“It is a dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis), inhabiting Western and West Central Africa, protected under the Washington CITES Convention, which pertains to not only live animals and plants, but also their parts or products made of them,” said Edyta Chabowska, a spokeswoman for the National Revenue Administration in Rzeszów.
The 44-year-old driver did not have the required import permit for the CITES specimen, which is issued by the Minister of the Environment. Officers of the National Revenue Administration kept the specimen for further investigation.
“Illegal transport across the EU border as well as intra-Community trade in specimens of endangered species is a crime punishable by imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years,” the KAS spokeswoman said.
Last year, KAS officers in the Podkarpackie province prevented the smuggling of over 15,000 items and 125 kg of plants and animals endangered with extinction or items made of them.