Federal customs officials at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport in the US have confiscated a truly bizarre holiday memento — a small box of giraffe droppings.
They had been brought into the US by an unidentified woman who returned from a holiday in Kenya on September 29.
She declared her collection of excrement after being selected for inspection by Customs and Border Protection agricultural specialists.
The woman told customs agents that she had planned to make the large-pearl-sized droppings into a necklace. Apparently, this was an arts-and-crafts project she had previously undertaken using moose droppings at her home in Iowa.
Fecal matter carries with it the risk of disease, and so its transport into the country is strictly regulated. Having declared the items at customs, however, she will not be sanctioned.
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A statement on the incident was released by LaFonda Sutton-Burke, director of field operations at the Chicago Field Office of US Customs and Border Protection.
She said: “There is a real danger with bringing fecal matter into the US
“If this person had entered the US and had not declared these items, there is high possibility a person could have contracted a disease from this jewelry and developed serious health issues.”
US Customs cited various diseases found in Kenya — African swine fever, classical swine fever, Newcastle disease, foot and mouth disease and Swine vesicular disease — as risks.
It is permissible to bring “ruminant animal feces” like giraffe droppings into the United States. However, a Veterinary Service Permit is required to do so.
Augustine Moore is the Area Port Director-Minnesota at the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
She added: “CBP’s agriculture specialists mitigate the threat of non-native pests, diseases, and contaminants entering the United States.
“CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological and agriculture sciences.
“They inspect travelers and cargo arriving in the United States by air, land, and seaports of entry.”
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