40 finches found hidden in hair curlers in man’s luggage at JFK airport

Authorities found dozens of finches inside hair curlers in a man’s luggage. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

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QUEENS – Dozens of finches were found in luggage inside John F. Kennedy International Airport for the second time in weeks, U.S. customs and border protection officials said on Tuesday.

Officers found 40 finches in the luggage of a 36-year-old man on Saturday after he flew in from Guyana, officials said. Nearly 30 finches were found in a man’s bag several weeks ago.

In the incident on Saturday. the man has not been criminally charged. CBP imposed a civil fine of $ 300 and put the man on a plane to Guyana the same day.

The finches were quarantined and then turned over to the Veterinary Services of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Introduced birds can introduce animal diseases and “have the potential to cause significant damage to the country’s agricultural economy,” said Marty Raybon, acting director of field operations for the CBP field office at New York.

More than 50 million chickens and turkeys in the United States died or were intentionally killed during an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in 2015, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

They said this represents about 12% of the country’s laying population and 8% of turkeys estimated to be kept for meat. As for the economic impact, losses have been estimated at over $ 1 billion.