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Mummified monkeys, Harlequin frogs in luggage shock officials at US airports

The mummified monkeys found by Boston Logan Airport staff. — Customs and Border Protection
The mummified monkeys found by Boston Logan Airport staff. — Customs and Border Protection

Boston Logan Airport staff were taken aback when a security dog discovered mummified monkeys in a passenger’s luggage who was returning from Africa.

The passenger returning from a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo reported that the luggage contained dried fish, but an inspection at Boston Logan Airport revealed dead and dehydrated bodies of four monkeys, agents said.

The traveller said he brought the monkeys into the US for his own consumption, Ryan Bissette, a CPB spokesperson, said on Sunday, according to the Independent.

Because of the risk of illness, eating raw or minimally processed wild animal meat, also known as “bushmeat,” is prohibited in the United States.

“The potential dangers posed by bringing bushmeat into the United States are real. Bushmeat can carry germs that can cause illness, including the Ebola virus,” said Julio Caravia, local port director for Customs and Border Protection.

Although the incident occurred last month, word of it broke on Friday.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention designated the approximately 9 pounds (4 kilogrammes) of bushmeat for destruction, Bissette said on Sunday, even though no charges had been brought, all of the luggage had been seized.

Additionally, 130 Harlequin frogs were found in the suitcase of a Brazilian woman who was travelling to Sao Paulo via Panama earlier this month. She faces charges related to wildlife trafficking.

On Monday, authorities detained the suspected smuggler at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport after finding the deadly animals wrapped in tiny film canisters.

The frogs, also called poison-dart frogs, were characterised by officials as being “stressed” and “dehydrated.”

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