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13 May 2010
A Cambodian woman arriving at Auckland Airport from Singapore on Saturday 8
May was found smuggling what is suspected to be a tiger pizzle (penis) and a
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) detector dog Kelso signalled to the left
hip of the woman, prompting his handler Courtney Moore to undertake a full
search that revealed a stocking tied around her waist and a plastic bag around
Further questioning revealed that the woman had hidden the pizzle on her hip,
under her pants – right where Kelso had signalled.
MAFBNZ Detector Dog Programme Manager, Craig Hughes says "this find
highlights the important role the detector dog teams play at the border and
sends a strong signal to those thinking about smuggling illegal goods into New
"The Detector Dog Programme is an important part of MAFBNZ operations. Our
dogs consistently find items that would otherwise prove difficult for our
inspectors to locate" says Craig.
In the 2008-09 year, MAFBNZ seized 126,500 biosecurity risk goods. The
detector dog teams accounted for 9% (11,385) of those items.
Tiger is an endangered species and is protected under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). While some cultures value
tiger parts for supposed medicinal benefit, the risk to the species is extreme.
Worldwide tiger populations are rapidly declining and all tiger species are
endangered. Genuine tiger penises are rare and can be sold at inflated prices
for use in adornment, rituals and medicines.
The woman, who was travelling with her daughter and husband, could be liable
under the Biosecurity Act for a fine of up to $100,000 and/or five years
imprisonment. Pending confirmation that the pizzle and gallbladder are from a
tiger, the case will be considered for prosecution under the Trade in Endangered
Species Act which also carries a fine of up to $100,000 and/or five years
Photos available on request.
For further information, please contact:
Kathy Dyer, Communications Adviser, 04 894 0335