Customs workers at a Minnesota airport discovered a traveler had brought a unique souvenir in her luggage: Giraffe feces.
The passenger arrived at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport from Kenya on September 29, according to a news release from US Customs and Border Protection.
“The passenger declared giraffe feces and stated she had obtained the droppings in Kenya and planned to make a necklace,” the release stated.
The traveler said she had previously used moose feces to make similar jewelry at her home in Iowa, according to customs officials.
The agency’s agriculture specialists “seized the box, and the excrement was destroyed via steam sterilization” according to protocol, the release said.
“There is a real danger with bringing fecal matter into the U.S.,” LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director of field operations at the agency’s Chicago field office, said in the release. “If this person had entered the U.S. and had not declared these items, there is high possibility a person could have contracted a disease from this jewelry and developed serious health issues.”
Bringing “ruminant animal feces” into the US requires a veterinary services permit, the release said. The agency noted Kenya experiences African Swine Fever, Classical Swine Fever, Newcastle disease, Foot and Mouth disease, and Swine Vesicular Disease.
Giraffes inhabit 27 of the 47 counties in Kenya, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. The foundation said disease has played a little-understood role in the decline of giraffe populations across the country.