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LONDON, February 14, (ITAR-TASS/. Officials from 46 countries, including Russia, on Thursday signed an intergovernmental declaration on fighting with illegal trade in wildlife.
The Russian delegation to the conference at Lancaster House where the declaration was signed was led by Natural Resources Minister Vladimir Kirillov.
The document outlines the practical steps towards curbing the illegal trade in wild animals and wildlife artifacts, including rhino horns and elephant tusks. It envisions amendments in the national legislations of signatory countries that will toughen the punishment for poachers, step up cross-border coordination and improve information exchange.
World Wildlife fund says the damage inflicted by poaching annually is estimated at $ 9.83 billion. Illicit production of rhino’s horns jumped up by a factor of 75 in the period of 2007 through 2013.
The horns are a widely used ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine and they surface more and more often on the black markets in Asia.
Apart from this, wildlife artifacts are often purchased by wealthy customers in Asian countries as trophies.
Experts point out the risk of extinction looming over rhinos, elephants and tigers, as tens of thousands of these animals fall victim to poaching every year.
The next conference on prevention of illegal trade in wildlife will be held in Botswana in 2015.