Airport security at Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) discovered a spine-tingling souvenir: giraffe and zebra bones.
According to the US Customs Border and Protection (CBP), the skeletal remains belonged to a woman who traveled to Kenya.
When the woman arrived at the airport on November 17, 2022, she initially only declared that she had an Acacia tree branch in her possession. Airport security found the rattling discovery when they screened her baggage through X-ray for a secondary inspection.
The woman then admitted that she found the bones in Kenya and wanted to keep them as souvenirs. She later amended her customs declaration to include the giraffe and zebra bones.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) inspectors reported that the bones violated provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Lacey Act. USFWS directed CBP to seize the bones.
However, the CBP made no bones about its regulations.
“I can appreciate travelers wanting to keep souvenirs of their vacations, but those souvenirs could violate United States or international law, or potentially expose our families, pets or our nation’s agriculture industries to serious animal or plant diseases,” Kim Der-Yeghiayan, Acting Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, DC said in a statement.
Der-Yeghiayan said: “Customs and Border Protection strongly encourages all travelers to know what they can and cannot pack in their baggage before returning to or visiting the United States and to declare all items upon arrival.”
No criminal charges were laid against the woman.