Customs officials found something a little “fishy” inside an unclaimed suitcase at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport late last month — the skull of a young dolphin.
US Customs and Border Protection agents uncovered the skull-shaped object after doing a routine x-ray scan of the luggage, which had been inadvertently separated from its owner during transit, the agency said in a news release Friday.
Following an examination by CBP and US Fish and Wildlife Service officials, the mysterious object was determined to be the skull of a young dolphin.
“The possession of wildlife items, especially those of protected animals is prohibited,” Area Port Director Robert Larkin in the release.
“We take wildlife smuggling seriously and work closely with our federal partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect wildlife and their habitats.”
The statement did not provide any information about the traveler who never reclaimed the luggage packed with the skull.
Certain fish and wildlife, and products made from them are subject to import and export restrictions, prohibitions, permits or certificates, as well as other requirements.
That includes wild birds, land or marine mammals, reptiles, fish, shellfish, mollusks or invertebrates — and any animal part or product, including skins, tusks, bone, feathers, or eggs.
The skull was turned over to US Fish and Wildlife Service investigators for further investigation.
Bringing illicit wildlife items into the country can result in penalties, seizures of the item, and even arrest, according to the release.