A carved ivory bracelet made out of an African elephant's tusk was seized from a passenger returning from a trip to Africa at BWI Airport.
The passenger was coming back to the U.S. from Liberia when she was taken to a secondary inspection at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport after an agricultural specialist noticed the bracelet she was wearing Friday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized the bracelet and the passenger was released.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined Monday the jewelry item was made of banned ivory.
Poaching of endangered African elephant tusks continues to be a serious and controversial concern. The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) bans international commerce of African tusk ivory among its member nations.
"We take our job of enforcing laws that protect endangered animal life very seriously and will aggressively prevent the illegal introduction of these products in the U.S.," said Sheryl Monette the Acting Port Director for the Port of Baltimore.
A 2012 report by CITES found elephant poaching levels are at their highest since 1989.