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Here's why searching the beach for empty seashells is better than buying from souvenir shops

The riverbanks zoo in South Carolina is posting to Facebook that the best way to protect some sea creatures is to not buy seashell souvenirs.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You may want to steer clear of buying shells at souvenir shops this summer as it could be doing more harm than good.

Let's connect the dots.

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in Columbia, South Carolina, is urging people on Facebook that the best way to protect some sea creatures is to not buy souvenir seashells. Why?

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It turns out many of those shops order their shells from wholesale traders and many of them are harvesting marine life just to get their shells. Experts say not only does this hurt the populations of these species, but it's also dangerous to the entire ecosystem.

How You Can Help

South Carolina zoo experts recommend searching the beach for empty shells. They say it's important to double-check you aren't accidentally picking up a shell with a living creature inside, like a hermit crab. 

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