Mummified Monkeys

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A customs dog at Boston Logan Airport detected four mummified monkeys in a passenger's luggage. The incident highlights the issue of smuggling illegal wildlife products and the potential health risks associated with the trade.

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A customs dog at Boston Logan International Airport helped uncover a suspicious item in a passenger's luggage - four mummified monkeys. The incident occurred on February 10, 2024, when the passenger, a US citizen, was returning from a trip to Thailand and was stopped for a baggage check. [Euronews]

The canine, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture dog trained to detect prohibited food, plants, and animals, alerted its handler to something unusual in the passenger's bags. Upon further inspection, CBP officers found the mummified monkeys wrapped in plastic inside the passenger's suitcase. [HuffPost]

The CBP stated that the monkeys appeared to have been dried out or dehydrated and may have been intended for use in traditional medicine. It is unclear if the passenger was aware of the prohibited status of the items or if they were intentionally trying to smuggle them into the country. [NPR]

The mummified monkeys, which were identified as bonnet macaques, are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It is illegal to import or possess them without proper permits. The CBP confiscated the monkeys and turned them over to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for further investigation. [NYP]

The incident highlights the efforts of customs authorities to prevent the illegal trafficking of wildlife and protected species. Smuggling wildlife products, such as mummified monkeys, is not only illegal but also poses a risk to public health and the environment. The CBP dog's successful detection underscores the importance of using trained animals in airport security operations. [Independent]

The smuggled monkeys were likely part of the illicit trade in wildlife and bushmeat. Bushmeat refers to the meat from wild animals, often illegally hunted and traded, that is consumed in certain cultures. The capture and consumption of bushmeat can contribute to the declining populations of endangered species and the spread of zoonotic diseases. [Wings Magazine]

The passenger involved in the incident was arrested and is facing charges related to the smuggling attempt. The case is now under investigation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service with possible penalties for violating wildlife protection laws. [Star Tribune]

The CBP commended the canine for its role in the discovery and seizure of the mummified monkeys. The use of highly trained dogs in airport security has proven to be an effective tool in identifying hidden and prohibited items. [Boston.com]

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