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Pictures: Protecting the world's endangered species

Protecting the world's endangered animal and plant species is no easy task, especially when many animal parts, such as elephants tusks, are traded illegally across the globe. But the representatives from 178 countries who are meeting at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species - or CITES for short - hope to make some headway...
Protecting the world's endangered animal and plant species is no easy task, especially when many animal parts, such as elephants tusks, are traded illegally across the globe. But the representatives from 178 countries who are meeting at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species - or CITES for short - hope to make some headway...
Elephant
But it's not just elephants that are at risk. Rhinos are killed for their horns which are made into traditional medicines.
A Rhino resting on the ground
The killing of sharks is big problem too. 100 million are killed every year, mostly to be used in Chinese shark fin soup.
Shark fins
Ivory is a material popular for ornaments and jewellery - this shop in China is full of ivory. China and Thailand are believed to be the top two destinations for illegally smuggled ivory.
Ornaments made from ivory
Protecting polar bears will also be on the agenda at the two week meeting. America wants to ban the trade in polar bear skins and body parts, but there will be opposition from Canada where it's legal for the bears to be killed if you've got a special permit.
Polar bear
They are meeting in Thailand in South-East Asia and already some changes have been made. Thailand's prime minister says she'll ban the trade of ivory that goes on in her country.
Elephants
It's thought the illegal ivory trade in Thailand encourages criminals to smuggle it in from other countries. This bag of tusks was seized in Africa before it made its way to shops and traders around the world.
Illegal ivory
And it's not just animals that need protection. Plants including types of orchids, ginseng and species of timber are high on the agenda.
Orchid
Types of ginseng are found in North America as well as Asia. Some species can be very expensive. A small amount - the same weight as a tub of butter - can sell for a few hundred pounds, leading some people to buy and sell it illegally.
Chinese ginseng fruits
There are proposals to regulate and ban the trade in almost 200 species of timber, mostly from the African island of Madagascar, unless it can be shown that the trees were harvested legally and sustainably. Ebony is amongst the Madagascan timber that is in huge demand around the world, so the country want steps taken to protect it.
Ebony logs