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Botswana conference highlights fight against illegal wildlife trade

KASANE, Botswana, March 26 — Delegates attending a conference on illegal wildlife trade in Botswana have agreed to step up actions to fight illegal trade of wildlife products, protecting elephants, rhinos and other endangered species.

Kasane Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade wrapped up in Botswana's northern town of Kasane Wednesday with the Kasane Statement reached by consensus by delegates from 32 countries and more than 20 inter-governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

By reviewing the status of implementation of the London Declaration reached at the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade held in February 2014, the Kasane Statement specified further actions to be taken by all parties concerning issues on eradicating the market for illegal wildlife products, ensuring effective legal frameworks and deterrents, strengthening law enforcement, sustainable livelihood and economic development.

Addressing the press conference after the meeting, British Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said delegates have determined to address the financial crimes and money laundering which are associated with the illegal wildlife trade.

"We specifically move into the transport area, to engage transport agencies in combating the illegal wildlife trade," said the minister, adding it is important to mobilize local people in the fight against poaching.

Botswana's Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama sad challenges facing the fight against illegal trade of wildlife products include the lack of political will and corruption. "We are going to have a uphill battle to prevent this, " he said.

According to a report released by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in September 2014, population sizes of vertebrate species have declined by 52 percent over the last 40 years.

The report attributes the decline primarily to habitat loss and degradation, hunting and fishing, and climate change. (PNA/Xinhua)

FPV/EBP

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