An airport sniffer dog helped to discover mummified monkeys hidden in the luggage of a traveller returning to the US from central Africa.
Inspectors at Boston Logan Airport found the dead and dehydrated bodies of four monkeys in the luggage of a passenger returning from a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The passenger had initially claimed that the luggage contained dried fish, according to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Agents were alerted to the bag containing the monkeys by a sniffer dog.
Ryan Bissette, a CPB spokesperson, said the passenger claimed to have brought the monkeys into the US for his own consumption.
The incident happened last month but was made public last Friday.
No charges were filed but all of the luggage containing the bushmeat, which weighed nearly 4kg, was marked for destruction by health officials.
Raw or minimally processed meat from wild animals, sometimes referred to as “bushmeat,” is banned in the US because of the threat of disease.
It comes from a variety of animals, including monkeys, pangolins, snakes and elephants.
Health experts have warned that the bushmeat trade could result in more diseases being transmitted from animals to humans. The trade also poses a threat to wildlife.
Last December, a smuggler from Taiwan attempted to transport animals through an airport in Bangkok in his designer underwear.
The man, who was not named, was arrested after attempting to smuggle two rare otters and a prairie dog in his underwear on a flight to Taipei.
According to the World Health Organisation, three-quarters of the diseases that have emerged in the last three decades have come from animals. This includes ebola, malaria and Covid-19.
Last year, food interceptors in East Suffolk intercepted an illegal haul of meat sent in a white van from Romania.
Since September 2022, strict controls have restricted the movement of pork and pork products into the UK to help safeguard Britain’s pigs from the threat of African swine fever.