A shipment of illegally imported coral seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents has found a new home and purpose.
CPB officials donated that corals seized last March at the port in Tampa, Fla., to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, where they are being used as educational tools as part of the Aquarium’s Blacktip Reef exhibit and as part of outreach efforts.
Officials said the corals, 20 pieces of Seriatopora hystrix (known as “birds nest coral”) and 22 pieces of Pocillopora damicornis, were cut from the reefs off the coast of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.
According to CBP, most species of coral are protected under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and require foreign CITES permits. This international agreement helps ensure that international trade of such species does not threaten their survival.