Maggot-ridden skulls seized

Last updated 12:10 19/03/2014
animal skulls
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BIOSECURITY RISK: The box contained wild animal skulls, thought to include zebra and wildebeest.

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A box of South African animal skulls crawling with maggots that someone tried to send through the post has been seized by biosecurity staff in Auckland.

A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) dog team recently detected the skulls, which were deemed a biosecurity threat, at the International Mail Centre near Auckland airport.

The box contained a number of wild animal skulls, thought to include zebra and wildebeest.

"There was clearly some flesh on the bones, as you could see maggots writhing beneath and on top of the cellophane wrapping," Aynsley Richards, MPI Auckland team leader, border clearance services, said.

The intended recipient of the box chose to pay to have the skulls treated with formalin and methyl bromide rather than have them destroyed or reshipped to another country.

"One thing for sure is they weren't coming to New Zealand without treatment - the biosecurity risk to New Zealand's animal product industries would have been too great."   

MPI is holding the skulls until they are identified by the Department of Conservation to make sure they do not include any species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

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- Fairfax Media

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