We’ve heard about drugs and the occasional gun that customers try to pass through airport security, but when’s the last time you heard about packing bones in your carry-on?

Zebra Bones At Security

According to the US Customs Border and Protection (CBP), giraffe and zebra bones were found in a woman’s luggage traveling from Kenya.

When the woman arrived at customs at Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) on November 17, 2022, she attempted to declare an Acaia tree branch was the only souvenir in her belongings.

However, after a second pass through the X-ray machines, airport security came across the skeletal remains of animals.

The bone-chilling (pun-intended) discovery was enough for airport security to alert US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) inspectors to see if packing bare bones was even permitted.

Souvenirs or Diseases


USFWS professionals responded that a woman was breaking all kinds of rules, and the souvenirs violated provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Lacey Act. They requested the bones be immediately be confiscated.

Although the woman told a bald-faced lie, no criminal charges were made against her, but Kim Der-Yeghiayan, Acting Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington DC, did have a bone to pick.

“I can appreciate travelers wanting to keep souvenirs of their vacations, but those souvenirs could violate United States or international law, or potentially expose our families, pets or our nation’s agriculture industries to serious animal or plant diseases,”  Der-Yeghiayan warned in a statement.

She continued, “Customs and Border Protection strongly encourages all travelers to know what they can and cannot pack in their baggage before returning to or visiting the United States and to declare all items upon arrival.”

Bones and all.