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  Yahoo News 5 Nov 07
Argentina seizes five tons of protected Philippine coral, seashells

Argentine customs said Monday it had seized a valuable, five-ton shipment of endangered and protected coral and seashells from the Philippines that was destined for the black market in tourist haven Mar del Plata.

The illegal shipment of some 1,500 pieces of coral and seashells was listed as manufactured goods when it arrived at the Buenos Aires port, customs officials said.

Most of the protected species are included in the 1975 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which ensures that trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Argentine customs officials said they were considering donating the coral and shells to museums or environmental organizations for their preservation.

Mar del Plata, 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Buenos Aires on the Atlantic coast, is one of Latin America's top tourist destinations.

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