Giraffe feces seized at the border from woman who planned to make necklaces with it

ByJon Haworth ABCNews logo
Friday, October 6, 2023
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A box of giraffe feces was confiscated and destroyed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after a woman brought it back from a trip to Kenya and planned to make necklaces out of the excrement.

The woman obtained the fecal matter when she was on a trip to Kenya and was returning back to the United States on Sept. 29 when she was selected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists for inspection at Minneapolis - Saint Paul International Airport in Minnesota.

"The passenger declared giraffe feces and stated she had obtained the droppings in Kenya and planned to make a necklace," CBP said in their statement detailing the incident. "The passenger also stated in the past she had used moose feces at her home in Iowa."

A small box of giraffe feces that was confiscated from a passenger arriving from Kenya at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Sept. 29, 2023.
(U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)

Agriculture Specialists subsequently seized the box of giraffe droppings and destroyed it via steam sterilization per United States Department of Agriculture destruction protocol, authorities said.

"There is a real danger with bringing fecal matter into the U.S.," said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, CBP Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. "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."

It is actually possible to bring animal feces into the United States for certain species provided the individual has obtained a permit.

"All ruminant animal feces require a Veterinary Services Permit for entry into the United States," CBP said. "Kenya is affected with African Swine Fever, Classical Swine Fever, Newcastle disease, Foot and Mouth disease, and Swine Vesicular Disease."

The woman will reportedly not face any charges, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

"Because the woman declared she was in possession of the box of droppings and readily abandoned it, she won't face sanctions. Had she tried to sneak it past agents, she could have faced a penalty of $300 to $1,000," the outlet said.

"CBP's agriculture specialists mitigate the threat of non-native pests, diseases, and contaminants entering the United States" said Augustine Moore, CBP Area Port Director-Minnesota. "CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological and agriculture sciences, they inspect travelers and cargo arriving in the United States by air, land, and seaports of entry."