Feb 4 2010 by Laurie Stocks-Moore, Chester Chronicle
Huge coral haul in rush to Blue Planet Aquarium at Cheshire Oaks
A RACE against time saved the life of illegally imported coral after it was rushed to the Blue Planet Aquarium.
Around 40 boxes containing 1.2 tonnes of the live rock coral arrived at lunchtime on Wednesday last week after being seized by the UK Border Agency in Manchester Airport. Staff immediately set to work keeping it moist.
The animals, which are protected under the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species, were discovered in air freight which originated in Indonesia.
Blue Planet spokesman Paul Reynolds said: “It has quite a short life if it's not cared for.
“It will go into one of our quarantine tanks.
“We have quite a good relationship
Officers from the Agency searched a freight consignment and found more than a tonne of the coral.
Further inquiries indicated that the coral were wrongly described by the Manchester-based importer.
Following the discovery, it was seized by UK Border Agency officers who began a race against time to transport the seizure to the Blue Planet Aquarium, Cheshire Oaks where they will soon be on display to visitors.
The UK Border Agency is now making further enquiries with the Indonesian authorities.
Colin Brown, the border agency’s assistant director of border force at Manchester Airport, said: “The illicit trade in endangered animals is a serious contributory factor to the threat of extinction faced by many endangered species.
“This seizure demonstrates the UK Border Agency takes its role in enforcing international agreements and prohibitions designed to protect the natural environment very seriously.”