Customs agents seized and destroyed a box of giraffe poop at a Minnesota airport after a woman brought the feces to the U.S. from Kenya, officials said Thursday.
The Iowa woman was selected for inspection on Sept. 29 by agriculture specialists from the customs agency, and she told them she was in possession of giraffe feces. She planned to use the giraffe excrement to make a necklace, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The woman told officials at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that she’d used moose droppings to make jewelry in the past.
The giraffe poop was destroyed via steam sterilization in accordance with United States Department of Agriculture destruction protocol.
“There is a real danger with bringing fecal matter into the U.S.,” CBP’s Chicago field director LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke said in a statement. “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.”
The agency said Kenya is currently affected with African swine fever, classical swine fever, Newcastle disease, foot and mouth disease and swine vesicular disease.
People are permitted to bring feces from ruminant animals into the U.S. if they obtain a Veterinary Services Permit, CBP said.
The woman who was carrying the giraffe feces won’t face sanctions, because she declared the feces and surrendered it to customs officials, according to Minnesota Public Radio. She could have faced a penalty of $300 to $1,000 if she’d tried to sneak the excrement past the agents at the airport.