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US customs seizes dead cobra snakes hidden in socks

US customs seizes dead cobra snakes hidden in socks

CINCINNATI: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers recently intercepted illegally-imported dead king cobra snakes hidden in socks and hawksbill sea turtle shells painted white to disguise them.
Officers discovered 631 “scutes,” parts of a turtle’s shell, which had been sanded clean of barnacles and covered in white, water-soluble paint. Wildlife inspectors estimated that the scutes were taken from 29 large, mature turtles between 60 and 65 years-old.
The hawksbill turtles are a critically endangered species protected under the Endangered Species Act, and inspectors said it would take decades for the species to recover to the loss to their population that was uncovered in the Cincinnati shipment.
The king cobra snakes were hidden in baskets with socks and were found dead, but officials said they suspected the snakes had been sent live for breeding purposes and died in transit.