If you're planning a trip to the Caribbean this winter, listen up.
U.S. wildlife officials say tourists could be supporting illegal animal poaching in the Caribbean if they buy souvenirs made from endangered species like sea turtles, spotted cats, crocodiles and coral. As the fall tourism season begins, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the World Wildlife Fund are out with a warning and a guide to help tourists better decide what to buy in the region.
Experts say illegal trade "Is wiping out some of the very wildlife and habitat that travelers go to the Caribbean to enjoy." A new "Buyer Beware" brochure lists products to avoid.
The brochure is being issued at border crossings and travel agencies, and on the World Wildlife Fund's Website. More than 3500 people are stopped and sometimes fined for bringing back contraband products without permits.
Caribbean products to avoid include spotted cat furs, all sea-turtle products, corals and certain species of orchid and cactus.
On the Net: The Buyer Beware brochure: www.worldwildlife.org/buyerbeware