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Last updated at 14:26 BST, Monday, 16 June 2014

Poaching threatens survival of African elephants

Summary

16 June 2014

The office of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (known as CITES) says rates of elephant poaching and trade in illegal ivory remain very high. In a new report, CITES warns that Africa's elephants face an immediate threat to their survival because of continued high levels of poaching for their ivory.

Reporter:

Imogen Foulkes

An elephant

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Report

Twenty thousand elephants were illegally killed in Africa last year, the report shows. That figure far exceeds the growth rate of the elephant population. In some regions of Africa elephants are threatened with extinction.

The report also documents a clear increase in the number of large seizures -amounts of over 500kg - of ivory in Africa. For the first time there were more such seizures in Africa than in Asia, an indication, the report suggests, of the involvement of transnational organised crime in the illegal ivory trade.

And while elephant conservationists do believe that increased ivory confiscation is a sign that law enforcement is improving, they also point out that demand for ivory remains very high, and that even in some of the monitored elephant populations, poaching is actually increasing.

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Vocabulary

far exceeds

is much more than (something)

extinction

a situation where a species no longer exists

seizures

actions where things are taken by force or with legal authority

indication

sign that something exists

transnational

more than one country

confiscation

legal removal

law enforcement

official action that makes sure a rule or law is obeyed

monitored

regularly checked (to see what is happening)

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