The passenger, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was standing in the
nothing-to-declare customs line at the Beijing Capital International Airport,
when the surprise inspection was conducted.
Elephants are protected under an Appendix I listing of CITES (Convention on
the International Trade of Endangered Species) law, with international trade for
commercial purposes being strictly prohibited. However, since 1997, several
CITES decisions have resulted in Appendix II listings for some populations,
meaning certain trade is permitted with special permits from CITES.