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Customs Seize Elephant Foot Converted Into Velvet-Covered Box And Posted From England

Weil am Rhein is located right on the German border with Switzerland, just 1.24 miles from it.

German customs officials in Baden-Wuerttemberg have seized a giant elephant’s foot sent from the U.K. that had been converted into a tasteless, velvet-covered container before being posted to a customer in Switzerland.

The illegal item, which the German customs officials said was “tasteless” and lacking the proper paperwork, had been posted from the U.K. to Germany and was reportedly intended as a “gift”, to be picked up by an unnamed Swiss person in Weil am Rhein, which is a town in south-western Germany, in Baden-Wuerttemberg, where the French, German and Swiss borders meet.

Weil am Rhein is located right on the German border with Switzerland, just 1.24 miles from it.

But the customs officers in Germany discovered the item in the post and launched an investigation after determining that it was a genuine African elephant’s foot.

The customs officials said that the elephant foot, from a “highly endangered” and protected species, had been converted into some sort of container or box.

The Main Customs Office in the town of Loerrach, which is also located in the south-western German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, a few miles down the road from Weil am Rhein, said in a statement released on Thursday, August 18 and obtained by Zenger News: “At the beginning of February this year, officials at the Weil am Rhein customs office seized a real elephant’s foot, which had been converted into a container, in a postal item.”

Picture shows elephant’s foot seized by customs in Weil am Rhein, Germany, undated. The package from Great Britain should have reached a recipient in Switzerland. (Hauptzollamt Lörrach/Zenger)

The customs officials added that the package had been posted from England and was intended for a Swiss person who had had it shipped to a German pick-up address. They said: “The package was posted in England and was intended for a recipient in Switzerland who had had the shipment delivered to a German pick-up address.

“The customs clearance was therefore carried out at the customs office in Weil am Rhein.”

The customs officials explained that African elephants (Loxodonta) are a protected species, adding: “The appraisal by an expert showed that it was the foot of an African elephant. According to the Federal Nature Conservation Act, elephants are an animal species that is particularly strictly protected and is still highly endangered due to the hunt for ivory, the marketing of which is prohibited in principle.”

A German border police officer stops cars in a checkpoint of the D87 road at the German-French border  on May 8, 2020 near Rastatt, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)

They called the item “tasteless” and said that the recipient did not have the necessary paperwork to import such an item. They said: “The recipient was unable to present the documents required for importing the tasteless gift.”

Maya Jehle, of the customs office in Loerrach, said: “The foot was completely hollowed out from the inside and damaged on top with a red velvet cover and golden fringes. It’s totally tasteless.”

Officials at the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Bonn are now handling the investigation, which is ongoing.

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