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‘Survivor’ artifacts seized by Customs

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WASHINGTON—The federal tribe has spoken: A contaminated monkey skull, termite-infested statues, and other African artifacts of the TV show “Survivor” will not be allowed into the U.S.

Officials say Customs inspectors in Houston seized a variety of restricted items that were being shipped to the U.S. in a container belonging to the CBS reality show.

Among the items: the hide from an African cat suspected of carrying a dangerous disease, a mandrill skull, civet hides, parrot, poultry, and ostrich feathers, bones, and cowries shells.

The 17th edition of “Survivor” took place in the West African nation of Gabon, the country from which the container was shipped.

The final episode was aired Sunday night.

The imports were seized Nov. 18 out of concern they were contaminated with pests and disease that could harm U.S. agriculture.

Civet cats are mongoose-like animals that are a delicacy in China and are suspected of spreading severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to humans.

Inspectors also found wooden statues with termites.

The restricted goods were fumigated by the U.S. Agriculture Department, said Customs spokeswoman Yolanda Chaotes.

She said the prohibited items were sent away from the U.S. and no decision has been made about penalties on the importer.

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