UK border control seizes record number of endangered animal items


Prince Charles, Prince William and British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson are shown confiscated items made from endangered animals during a conference on the illegal wildlife trade at Clarence House in London on May 21, 2013.



An alligator skin upholstered Rolls Royce was among the record number of endangered animal items seized by UK border control officers in the year to April 2013.

A total of 690 items were confiscated, including eight live big cats, tortoises and hippo teeth, reports citing the Home Office said Friday.

That was 181 more than the previous 12-month period and there are fears the number will keep rising as the global economy recovers. 

“We have everything from rhino horn to ivory to the taxidermy items and marine species that we see being brought back into the UK, both in passengers' luggage -- but more importantly, and in large quantities, through freight," said Grant Miller, a senior Border Force officer.

Nearly 4,000 kilograms of medicine containing extracts from endangered animals and more than 300 ivory items were also seized as well 93 live animals. 

The pick up in economic growth is likely to fuel the illegal trade.

"As the financial situation internationally picks up and people have more money in their pockets, the trade in animals - alive or dead - or in artefacts and curios is only going to increase," said Rachel Jones of London Zoo.