Officials: Man cited for taking federally protected coral

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Coral reefs, Key West, Florida

KEY LARGO, FL (AP) — Authorities say a North Carolina man visiting the Florida Keys stole large pieces of federally protected coral.

The Miami Herald reports that Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers responded Wednesday night to a Key Largo condominium complex and issued the man a notice to appear in court for violating the Endangered Species Act.

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FWC investigators had been tipped off that someone had coral out on a balcony at the Landings of Largo. Officers identified it as staghorn coral.

The man told officers he was in the Keys for the two-day lobster miniseason, which ended Thursday night.