U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Washington Dulles International Airport discovered a number of ruminant skins from various African wildlife and about 22 pounds of giant African land snail shells in a shipment destined for Philadelphia in late August.
CBP announced the seizures Thursday.
According to CBP officials, agriculture specialists collaborated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors to identify the five unfinished, ruminant skins — two of which were head skins mounted on unprocessed wood carvings — as being from antelope and cat-like mammals.
USFWS ordered the items seized for numerous import requirement violations, while CBP officials ordered they be destroyed, as the unfinished pelts pose potentially serious animal disease threats to American livestock.
“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists protect our nation’s agriculture and economy from a variety of potential threats every day, from the innocuous hotel fruit and airport sandwiches, to the more serious unfinished animal pelts that may be a vector for economy-crippling animal diseases,” CBP Baltimore Director of Field Operations Casey Durst said in a prepared statement.
On an average day in 2018, CBP agriculture specialists reportedly seized 4,552 prohibited soil, plant, meat and animal byproducts at U.S. ports of entry, as well as 319 insect pests.