Fish and Wildlife Service auctioning off seized goods
Associated Press Writer
DENVER (AP) – Faced with crowding, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is selling off some of the contents of its 22,000-square-foot warehouse stuffed with leather boots, fur coats and other legal wildlife items that were seized because of violations like paperwork mistakes.
About 300,000 pieces at the National Wildlife Property Repository in Denver will be available in an online auction, one lot at a time for the next several months.
Many of the watchbands, tablecloths with python skin sewn on, and mink purses being sold are beyond what the agency can donate to schools, zoos or museums for educational purposes, which is its main goal.
“We get inundated with tons and tons of boots,” said Bernadette Atencio, supervisory wildlife repository specialist for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Denver repository is the only one of its kind in the country. At one point in 2009, it held more than 1.5 million items and had to stop accepting products for about half the year, Atencio said. She said goods were still processed, but many were donated.
The only other sale from items in the Denver repository in 1999 raised $500,000, Atencio said. Proceeds from the latest auction, which began last month, would be used to recover costs of the sale and support conservation education and wildlife.
The service has spent $100,000 to hold the auction so far.
Austin, Texas-based Lone Star Auctioneers didn’t immediately have information on whether most early bidders have been individuals or businesses.
Nothing for sale is made from threatened or endangered species.
“These are items that can legally come into the U.S. for sale for commercial purposes,” Atencio said. They were confiscated because they were imported without documentation from the countries of origin or violated other import regulations, she said.
Goods will only be shipped to U.S. addresses.
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