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What Not to Bring Home from Sochi

From U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Traveling to the 2014 Sochi Winter Games will be a once in a lifetime experience for many. U.S. Olympians, and fans of Team USA may find themselves searching for a memento of their trip or a souvenir to share with those back home. 

Caviar is a staple of Russia’s food culture and can commonly be found on restaurant menus and in marketplaces. But, before you pick up a tin of caviar for everyone on your souvenir list, be sure that you know the law.

Only a small amount of certain types of caviar can be brought back into the U.S., and some are banned completely. Make sure that you adhere to international and U.S. laws, or you could risk that pricey caviar being taken from you. 

While caviar is likely to be the most widely available wildlife product, travelers to Russia may encounter other regulated wildlife products.

Keep the list below handy so that you know what products to avoid. And, remember, when in doubt — don’t buy!

Buyer Beware - Caviar (Photo: Javier D./Creative Commons)

Without a permit, you may only bring up to 125 grams (about 4.4 ounces) of sturgeon caviar back into the U.S. per person per trip, but the caviar of some species, like beluga, is completely prohibited. 

Buyer Beware - Furs (Photo: Peretz Partensky/Creative Commons)

Species used in the fur trade may be protected under domestic laws or international treaties. Know the laws before you buy and verify that you are purchasing a legally acquired item.

Don’t buy - Polar bear skins and products (Photo: Rudy Blossom/Creative Commons)

It is illegal to bring polar bear parts or products into the United States.

Don’t buy - Tiger skins and products

It is illegal to bring tiger skins or products, such as those used in folk or traditional medicine, as souvenirs or for “good luck” charms, into the United States.

Don’t buy - Snow leopard skins and products (Photo: Rob Brooks/Creative Commons)

Snow leopards are protected globally.  You may not bring snow leopard skins or products into the United States.

Don’t buy: Walrus ivory

Without a permit, it’s illegal to bring walrus ivory into the United States. Unless you already have a permit in hand, avoid purchasing any item made from ivory.

Don’t buy: Snowdrop bulbs (Photo: Vicky Brock/Creative Commons)

These popular garden bulbs—native to Turkey, Russia, and Georgia—can only be imported with the proper permits.  Avoid purchasing snowdrop bulbs, unless you already have a permit in hand. 

Illegal wildlife trade reduces economic, social and environmental benefits of wildlife, while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year.

Consumers have the power to stop this illegal trade by making informed decisions and helping us to spread the word.  

Image description: NASA Goes to the Olympics.
View aerial shots of all the cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics in this awesome photo set compiled by NASA.Which city hosted your favorite Winter Olympics?

Image description: NASA Goes to the Olympics.

View aerial shots of all the cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics in this awesome photo set compiled by NASA.

Which city hosted your favorite Winter Olympics?

Image description: U.S. Army Sgt. Nick Cunningham and his teammates Sgts. Justin Olsen, Johnny Quinn and Abraham Morlu jump into a bobsled at an event at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah, Dec. 7, 2013.
Cunningham and Olsen — who won a gold medal at the 2010 Olympic games — are assigned to the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and will compete alongside many other military members at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Check out bios, pictures and more stories about members of our military competing in Sochi.
Photo by Tim Hipps, U.S. Army

Image description: U.S. Army Sgt. Nick Cunningham and his teammates Sgts. Justin Olsen, Johnny Quinn and Abraham Morlu jump into a bobsled at an event at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah, Dec. 7, 2013.

Cunningham and Olsen — who won a gold medal at the 2010 Olympic games — are assigned to the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and will compete alongside many other military members at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

Check out bios, pictures and more stories about members of our military competing in Sochi.

Photo by Tim Hipps, U.S. Army

Meet the 2012 Military Olympians

Image description: U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program rifle shooter Sgt. Vincent Hancock became the first shotgun shooter to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in men’s skeet. Photo from the Department of Defense.

Sixteen members of the United States Military are members of the 2012 U.S.A. Olympic team this summer in London. The Army, Marine Corps and Navy all have members who have qualified for different events, such as wrestling, fencing, the men’s 50m rifle prone and more.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sandra Uptagrafft is the only woman representing the U.S. Military in the 2012 Olympics. She competed in the women’s 10m air pistol and women’s 25m pistol events.

Army Olympian Staff Sgt. John Nunn taught Americans how to race walk on NBC’s “Today” show. Nunn and his Olympic teammate, Maria Michta, spent an afternoon teaching the program’s cast members. After some practice, NBC broadcasters Al Roker, Matt Lauer and Ryan Seacrest joined Nunn for a lap around the track.

Learn about the accomplishments of all the 2012 U.S. Military Olympians.

Image description: First Lady Michelle Obama is picked up by U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova during a visit with Team USA Olympic athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
View more photos from the First Lady’s trip to London.
Photo by Sonya N. Hebert, Official White House 

Image description: First Lady Michelle Obama is picked up by U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova during a visit with Team USA Olympic athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

View more photos from the First Lady’s trip to London.

Photo by Sonya N. Hebert, Official White House