Two small parrots were concealed in this Elmo doll as a California couple tried to bring them into the United States. (Source: Customs and Border Protection)
SAN LUIS, AZ (CBS5) -
Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists seized two live parrots hidden inside a Sesame Street character doll and a grocery bag of fresh mangos with seeds from a California couple at the Port of San Luis July 1.
The couple were trying to enter the United State from Mexico when they were referred for further inspection, according to a CBP news release.
The specialists first found a bag of mangos with seeds and then asked to inspect a passenger's Elmo doll, according to the release.
An X-ray of the doll showed an anomaly inside and the doll was cut open, revealing two small live conures, according to the release.
The prohibited birds and fruit were seized and the couple was fined $300, which they agreed to pay by mail, and released, according to the release.
Birds imported into the U.S., except birds from Canada, which are distinguished from poultry or unaccompanied birds must be quarantined for 30 days at a USDA bird quarantine facility.
The importer is responsible for making necessary quarantine arrangements and obtaining health certificates in the country of origin, according to the release.
Birds, including pet birds, could also be subjected to U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Services regulations.
Pet birds are regulated since they can carry viral and bacterial diseases of concern including avian influenza, exotic Newcastle disease and psittacosis, according to the release.
The seized birds were placed in a quarantine isolation crate and transferred to a USDA-Veterinary Services bird holding facility. The seized mangos were destroyed on site.
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