Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection discovered 3 1/2 pounds of bat meat in the luggage of a Maryland man earlier this month, authorities said.
The charred meat was found in the bags of a passenger from Germantown, Maryland, who arrived at Dulles International Airport in the Washington, D.C., area on April 5, the CBP said in a news release.
“Bat is considered bushmeat and is a routine protein staple in Africa,” the CBP said in its release. “However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bushmeat is illegal to import to the United States and bats are known vector species for zoonotic diseases, such as Ebola.”
CBP agriculture specialists also discovered a combined 12 pounds of tetrapleura, eggplants, and turkey berries in the man’s baggage, WUSA-TV reported.
Tetrapleura is a flowering plant from West Africa, and turkey berries are yellow-green, pea-sized berries, according to the CBP.
Officers seized and destroyed the fruit, which is prohibited, according to WJLA-TV.
The man was released, the CBP said in its release.
“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists play a very challenging frontline role in protecting the public, our nation’s agricultural industries, and our economic vitality every day against the deliberate or accidental introduction of potentially crippling animal diseases that may be carried in passenger baggage,” Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s area port director for Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “CBP strongly encourages all international travelers to know what they can and cannot pack in their baggage before visiting the United States.”