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CBP Memphis Agricultural Specialist Discovers Caprine Skull

Release Date: 
April 12, 2019

MEMPHIS, Tenn.A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Memphis agricultural specialist made an unusual discovery Wednesday night while inspecting a package shipment from Djibouti.

Caprine skull
A salt-encrusted Djiboutian caprine
skull was found in a package in a ship-
ping facility in Memphis. The skull was
destroyed to mitigate risk of Foot and
Mouth Disease.

The package had been marked as gift salt, but upon closer examination, it actually contained a salt-encrusted caprine skull with horns and tissue visible inside the skull.

A caprine is a hoofed animal often called a goat-antelope. The animals are usually found in the mountainous regions of Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. This particular caprine skull had been shipped from Djibouti, a country known to be affected with Foot and Mouth Disease, which can spread rapidly through animal-to-animal contact. According to the USDA, the United States eradicated the disease here in 1929. 

“This particular disease is detrimental to U.S. agriculture,” explained Stanley Pirtle, CBP New Orleans agricultural operations manager.  “It could create an outbreak among U.S. livestock if it’s allowed to enter the country and is improperly handled.”

In order to mitigate risk to U.S. livestock, the skull and horns were destroyed using steam sterilization. For more information on what items can be imported into the United States, click here.

The Area Port of Memphis is one of three Area Ports under CBP Office of Field Operations, New Orleans, LA, along with Area Port of Mobile and the Area Port of New Orleans. CBP New Orleans oversees 18 Ports of Entry in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas with a domestic contribution of more than $200 Billion to the U.S. economy.

Last modified: 
April 12, 2019