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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 September, 2003, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Dutch baffled by 'baboon noses'
One of the suspected baboon noses
The noses were destined for the US [photo from Dutch Inspection Service]
Dutch authorities are trying to track down who left a foul-smelling suitcase at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport containing up to 2,000 suspected decomposing baboon noses.

The gruesome discovery was made by security guards during a routine patrol last week.

Officials say the bizarre shipment was brought from Nigeria and was destined for the United States.

Baboons are protected under international conventions and their body parts cannot be exported without authorisation.

They are listed as an endangered species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or Cites.

"The stench from the luggage drew the attention of the security staff," Louis Steens of the Dutch Agriculture Ministry's Inspection Service told BBC News Online.

It's weird! It's a health hazard too
Louis Steens
Sniffer dogs were used to locate the suspect suitcase in the packed left-luggage area, he said.

"It's not unusual to find animal organs, such as eyes and brains or plants in baggage from Asia and Africa - whose people use them as ingredients of their traditional medicines for healing purposes," Mr Steens said.

But, he said, they had never come across such an enormous number of what they identified as baboon noses.

"It's weird! It's a health hazard too," he said.

The Dutch authorities say they have contacted their counterparts in Nigeria and Cites to assist with their investigations.

The suspected noses, weighing a total of around 30 kilogrammes (66 lbs), have now been destroyed.

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