A security dog last month detected the remains of four “deceased and dehydrated monkeys” stored in a traveler’s luggage at Logan International Airport, said US Customs and Border Protection.
The traveler was returning to the US after visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a statement from the agency.
The dog sniffed out the remains during a routine screening of the bag on Jan. 8 at Logan, the agency said.
The traveler, whose name was withheld, told authorities when questioned that the bag contained dried fish, which was visible when the parcel was X-rayed, according to CBP.
“Still, upon physical inspection, the officer identified the dead and dehydrated bodies of four monkeys,” the statement said.
The agency described the remains as bushmeat, which comes from a variety of wild animals including bats, monkeys, cane rats, and antelope.
Such meat can pose a risk of communicable disease and is not allowed in the United States, officials said.
“The potential dangers posed by bringing bushmeat into the United States are real,” Julio Caravia, the agency’s area port director for Boston, said in the statement. “Bushmeat can carry germs that can cause illness, including the Ebola virus. The work of CBP’s K9 unit and Agricultural Specialist were vital in preventing this potential danger from entering the U.S.”
Officials immediately contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which requested that the monkey remains be seized and the bag destroyed or returned to France, where the traveler had caught a connecting flight after leaving Africa.
“The 4 kilograms of bushmeat was detained for CDC and marked for destruction,” the agency said.
The agency said its agriculture specialists “examine international trade shipments and traveler baggage daily in the search for invasive insects, federal noxious weeds, and plant and animal diseases that could seriously impact our national agricultural resources.”
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