Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wildlife Fund Chief Decries Billions in Illegal Trade

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wildlife Fund Chief Decries Billions in Illegal Trade

Article excerpt

The illicit trade in rhino horns, endangered birds and other animal products is so profitable that it rivals the drug trade, the president of the World Wildlife Fund said here Thursday.

"Illegal wildlife trade is enormous around the world, and profit margins for something like rhino horns really are akin to profits for heroin and coca," said Kathryn Fuller. Coca is the source of cocaine.

Fuller was in St. Louis as part of a series of talks with conservationists who are planning for a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. CITES, as the international treaty is commonly called, regulates trade in threatened and endangered wildlife and wildlife products.

The meeting is set for Nov. 7-18 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Among other issues, experts from around the world will discuss the fate of such critically endangered animals as rhinos and tigers.

Despite trade restrictions under CITES, the illegal wildlife trade still brings in $2 billion to $3 billion a year, the wildlife fund estimates.

These profits, as in the drug trade, come from the multiple steps that the product travels to market. …

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