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Tiger, birds sent back to Syria after foiled smuggling attempt

By Rana Husseini - Dec 18,2012 - Last updated at Dec 18,2012

AMMAN — Two vehicles that entered the Kingdom via the Ramtha border crossing almost 10 days ago carrying smuggled birds and a tiger were sent back to Syria on Sunday along with their contents, officials announced on Tuesday.

Jordan Customs Department (JCD) personnel searched the two vehicles after becoming suspicious of the drivers, JCD Director Maj. Gen. Ghaleb Sarayreh said.

“The tiger was in a cage that was hidden under cartons in the truck,” a second JCD official said, adding the driver claimed that he was carrying vegetables and fruits.

The birds were hidden in another vehicle, also in cages, the official told The Jordan Times.

“Agents counted around 900 pigeons, canaries and goldfinches,” the JCD official said, noting that the animals were destined for sale to merchants in Jordan.

The drivers of the vehicles were not apprehended but “had to wait until we examined the animals and it was clear for us to send them back… as stipulated in agreements between the two countries”, the official explained.

He said customs agents were exerting their utmost efforts to prevent smuggling of animals and rare species in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

“We alert all travellers coming into Jordan that they should declare animals or plants and obtain special permission before entering the Kingdom,” he said.

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