US

Invasive Giant African Snails seized at JFK Airport: officials

Invasive Giant African Snails seized at JFK Airport: officials

Customs officials agents seized a load of Giant African Snails — known as one of the most damaging snail species in the world — found in a man’s luggage at JFK Airport this week, officials said.

Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered the 22 highly invasive, slimy critters during a baggage examination of an American man who arrived Sunday on a flight from Ghana, according to a news release.

The Giant African Snail consumes at least 500 types of plants and wreaks havoc on tropical and sub-tropical environments, officials said.

The snails — which produce about 1,200 eggs in a single year — also pose a health risk to humans because they carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis, officials said.

They are also known to cause structural damage to plaster and stucco structures.

According to the USDA, the Giant African  Snail was first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it.
According to the USDA, the Giant African Snail was first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it.
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CBP

In addition to the invasive snails, the man’s luggage contained about 24 pounds collectively of prohibited oxtail, dried beef, turkey berry, carrot, medicinal leaves and prekese, a traditional African spice and medicinal plant product, officials said.

The traveler declared all of the items, so he was released, a CBP spokesman said. All of the items were seized.

Giant African Snails threaten U.S. agricultural resources and cause extensive damage to tropical and sub-tropical environments.
Giant African Snails threaten U.S. agricultural resources and cause extensive damage to tropical and sub-tropical environments.
CBP

“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists are our nation’s frontline defenders against invasive plant and animal pests that threaten our agricultural resources, and they face this complex and challenging mission with extraordinary commitment and vigilance,” Marty C. Raybon, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s New York Field Office, said in a statement.

Giant African Snails reproduce quickly, producing about 1,200 eggs in a single year.
Giant African Snails reproduce quickly, producing about 1,200 eggs in a single year.
CBP

The Giant African Snail — whose scientific name is Lissachatina fulica — was first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it, according to the USDA.

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Raymond Hicks

With a knack for storytelling, Raymond started The Madison Leader Gazette about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the US & World section, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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