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Dead cougar found in man’s luggage at Las Vegas airport

Updated December 27, 2017 - 7:28 am

One traveler’s holiday plans hit a snag after airport officials found a dead cougar in his luggage.

A Transportation Security Administration agent at McCarran International Airport discovered the carcass just before 10 p.m. Tuesday, Metropolitan Police Lt. David Gordon said.

The cougar appeared to have a Utah State Fish and Game tag, he said, but TSA agents held the man at the airport while they tried to confirm the validity of the tag.

The man ended up shipping the cougar home, but not on the airplane, airport spokeswoman Melissa Nunnery said. Nunnery did not know where the carcass was being shipped to.

“It is not a crime to transport game that is legal to possess via airlines,” Gordon said. “However, airlines reserve the right to tell passengers they do not want to transport certain items.”

Nevada Division of Wildlife spokesman Doug Nielsen said the organization wasn’t notified of the incident, and therefore he had no further information on it. Speaking generally, Nielsen said the organization is supposed to be notified if there’s any evidence of wrongdoing.

He said it’s fairly common for hunted animals to travel through the airport. It’s legal to transport them through the airport if the hunter abides state laws, gaming guidelines and TSA protocol, Nielsen said.

“As long as that’s a legally harvested animal, we don’t have any problem with them passing through Nevada,” Nielsen said.

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Mike Shoro contributed to this story.

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