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BellamyBlake

Import of Restricted Fossils

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BellamyBlake

I'm curious about importing potentially restricted fossils and verifying provenance. I'm not sure if I'm overthinking it. Maybe someone with more experience can help me.

 

I'll illustrate with an example. Various Caribbean nations like Cuba have banned the export of Megalodon teeth. Now, there are Cuban teeth in other collections that were obtained before that ban and exported legally. I found one in France. I spoke to the supplier, and he assures me that it's been acquired legally, from a private collection. What would I need to import that into Canada (or really any other country - I think the United States has similar)? 

 

It would be one thing if this tooth were in Cuba, and I would ask Cuba for permission and they would probably decline. In this case, the tooth is in France. Would I still talk to Cuba about this, or France, or both nations? What kind of documentation should the merchant provide me with to prove that it's been legally acquired, and what should he include with the shipment to prove to Customs that the tooth has been obtained legally? Is simply the seller's written word that it has been acquired from a private collection enough? 

 

 

These are complex legal questions and I've already contacted the appropriate authorities here in Canada to discuss them. Response times are slow right now, and in the meantime I would like to better understand how these things work. I won't take anything said here as legal advice - it's only for my information and I'd like to learn from your experiences navigating these laws. 

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jpc

yes, complex legal issues, and I wonder if any Canadian or American customs officials really care or want to spend time on this when they could be chasing drug and gun runners.  

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Tomasz

Unfortunately, I can't help in regard to Canadian and/or US custom regulations, but the legal risk linked with the import of fossils increases. 

Some time ago we had a case in Poland (2014), when a group of students returning from the geological camp/expedition in Indonesia (volcano research) intended to take without a permit & additionally few fossilized corals (at least they were convinced that they are taking fossils). At the airport already in Poland it was discovered that corals' samples belonged to living and protected creatures. Just the preservation was unique. Students thought that they found Ordovician fossils. Huge problems, criminal prosecutions and the trial. The final verdict was a happy-end but ... 

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