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More than 20,000 elephants poached last year.

GENEVA (TAP) - More than 20,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory in 2013, driven by demand in China and Thailand, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agency reported on Friday.

CITES, a U.N.-linked wildlife conservation agency, said poaching levels were far above the elephant birth rate.

It added that some local populations face an immediate threat of extinction.

"We are still seeing the elephant populations in decline, which means that the levels of illegal killing are exceeding the natural birthrates. But, overall, the population of the African elephant is in decline. However...the upward trends we saw that became very sharp in 2010 and 2011 in terms of the levels of illegal killing have started to level off. But, at a level that is far too high; namely we still have over 20,000 African elephants killed per year." CITES Secretary-General, John Scanlon said.

Eighty percent of the African seizures were in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Publication:Agency Tunis Afrique Press
Date:Jun 13, 2014
Words:172
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