A Mr S Claus has been detained after flying into New Zealand air space with undeclared animals, unwanted organisms and CITES listed threatened species.
The animals—nine reindeer—were impounded on arrival and Mr Claus has so far been unable to provide documentation to show that they have passed biosecurity clearances.
“This is a blatant breach of both CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and New Zealand’s biosecurity laws, ” says a senior DOC spokesperson.
“The contents of a bag have been found and appears to hold many personal items that Mr Claus insisted were gifts, and also contained a number of rare parrots from tropical countries. This could be a real feather in the cap for busting a bird smuggling ring“.
Mr Claus insisted he knew nothing of the parrots and was just asked to pass the plain brown wrappers onto someone else on the other side of the border.
The sledge that Mr Claus was riding is made from a rare hardwood from an un-sustainably managed rainforest. The wood is on the CITIES threatened species database of prohibited timbers. Exotic spiders were also found crawling under the vehicle; Claus claimed he hadn’t used it in nearly 12 months.
He was dressed in polar bear fur from his head to his foot and his clothes were tarnished with ashes and soot. His gumboots were covered in dirt and reindeer faeces which carried numerous diseases including didymo.
Furthermore, Claus was suspected to be under the influence of illegal drugs. His eyes were too twinkly, he was far too merry, his cheeks were too rosy, his nose like a cherry. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke encircled his head like a wreath.