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BALTIMORE (WUSA9)-- Customs and Border Protection officials say they have donateda shipment of illegally imported corals intercepted byCBP to the National Aquarium inBaltimore.

CBP tells us the corals are serving as educational tools in the Aquarium's new Blacktip Reef exhibit,in conservation outreach efforts, school science programs, and more. Thecorals contain20 pieces of Seriatopora hystrix (or "birds nest coral") and 22 pieces of Pocillopora damicornis.

The coral was intercepted at the port of Tampa, Fla., say CBP officials. According to CBP, they were cut from reefs off the coast of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.After the shipment entered the port of Tampa for inspection last March, the shipment was seized by CBP for violation of the Endangered Species Act. The corals were donated to the National Aquarium June 25.

According to CBP, most species of coral are protected under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and require foreign CITES permits.

For more information on National Aquarium, visit www.aqua.org.

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