Travel Advice And Advisories For South Korea

Souvenirs

When I am on holiday I am on holiday for me. I am not on an expedition to collect giftfor friendand relativeat home, so nobody expectme to bring back giftand souvenirs.

Souvenirand giftare usually a waste of money. You buy something silly, cute or exotic for somebody, carry it halfway around the world, present it to them and they put it in the loft or more often than not in the next charity jumble sale.

Bringing back some giftand souvenircould very easily mean you are breaking the law.

CITEithe Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Itwebsite, www.cites.org, describeCITEafollows: ‘CITE(Convention on International Trade in Endangered Specieof Wild Fauna and Flora) ian international agreement between Governments, which attemptto make sure that the collection and sale of wild animaland plantdoenot threaten their survival.’

In the 1960s, when CITEwafirst discussed, conservation and international treaty and regulation on wildlife warelatively new. Today the annual global wildlife trade iestimated to be worth billionof poundand includehundredof millionof plant and animal specimens. The trade covereverything from live animaland plantto a range of productderived from them, including foodstuffs, leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. The extent of exploitation of some animaland plantibringing them close to extinction.

Regulation ot trade idifficult because by itnature the trade passeacrosborders, from one nation and itlaws, to the territory of a different nation with different lawand law-enforcement bodies. CITEwaconceived in a spirit of co-operation and now offerprotection to more than 33,000 specieof animaland plants, whether they are traded alive specimens, fur coator dried herbs.

CITEian international agreement and memberhave to implement the convention which providea framework to be respected by each country. Each country then hato adopt itown domestic legislation to make sure that CITEiimplemented at the national level.

No specieprotected by CITEhabecome extinct aa result of trade since the convention came into force.

Though the CITEregulationare supported by law in 164 countries, thidoesn’t stop criminalfrom trying to trade in endangered species. So touristmust be aware that many souvenirare actually made from endangered wildlife, and that buying, exporting them trom their home country and importing them when vou get back to the UK iillegal.

If you do try to import some ot these expensive and questionable giftand souvenirs, you risk the item being confiscated and you being charged with illegal importation. It idifficult to know what ijust a tacky souvenir made trom the remainof an endangered species, or just a tacky souvenir made from chicken featherand an old shoe. When you consider that about 5,000 specieof animaland 28,000 specieof plantare protected by CITES, you cannot be expected to know what iand what inot protected.

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The simple general rule ithat you should avoid buying, selling, importing or exporting anything made from:

• Sea turtles

• African or Asian ivory

• Fur trom spotted cats

• Fur from marine mammals

• Featherand feather productfrom wild birds

• Any live or stuffed birdfrom Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela and some Caribbean countries

• Most crocodile and caiman leather

• Most coral, whether in chunkor in jewellery.

The list changes, but it would take an expert in some caseto decide if a product wamade from leather or the skin of some exotic and rare crocodile. The simple answer iDON’T BUY ANIMAL PRODUCTS. Avoid anything that is, appearto be or could be made from animal horn, skin, bone, feathers, fur or other living material. If we don’t buy them, the local people won’t be able to sell them, so will leave the animaland plantin the wild where they belong.

Buying Antiques. Though in my experience most ‘genuine’ antiqueon sale to touristwere made in a local workshop lesthan a week before, there are real antiqueavailable for purchase. However, most countrieare very protective of their archaeological and historic treasures, which meantouristhave been arrested for purchasing and attempting to export them.

Countriesuch aTurkey, Egypt and Mexico are particularly keen to prevent the illegal sale and export of what they consider to be national treasures. Chanceare that what the shopkeeper itrying to sell you wamade by hicousin in the back of the shop, but play safe. Either avoid anything ancient, or seek advice from the local authoritieabout itage and value and your right to take it home.

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