Feb.14 - Illegal wildlife trading, estimated at $10 billion a year, causes unprecedented suffering - but the fight against it may be at a ''crucial'' turning point, say delegates at a London conference. Ciara Sutton reports.
Three tonnes of illegal ivory seized in France over two decades is destroyed under the orders of the president. It's part of a fight against poaching of endangered species, and includes 700 tusks, jewellery and sculptures, valued at one million euros. Ivory poaching is on the rise and causing dramatic declines in African elephants - only half are left compared to 30 years ago. They're hunted for their tusks, which are used for carvings and traditional medicines. Rhino horn is now worth more than gold and platinum. A poacher kills a rhino every 10 hours. Demand mainly comes from Asian economies that are increasingly expanding into Africa. President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, DONALD KABERUKA, SAYING:. "We are at a level where is is a mass massacre of Africa's wildlife. It's no longer a simple problem of preservation of the environment or conservation. This is an attack on African economic sustainability." In Togo, authorities seized nearly 4 tonnes of ivory within a week. These tusks, hidden in containers destined for Vietnam are from over 500 dead elephants. They add to concern that Togo is the new transit point for the ivory trade. It's something the authorities have vowed to fight - along with other African states and international organisations whose leaders gathered in London this week at the conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade - where agreement was reached on a number of new measures. UK foreign minister, William Hague. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UK FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE SAYING: "Governments have committed themselves for the first time to renounce the use of products from species threatened with extinction. This is a very strong signal agreed by all the participating governments, that they will not procure the things that drive demand for illegal wildlife." Accompanied by his sons, Princes William and Harry, Prince Charles also praised the leaders for their attendance. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRINCE CHARLES, SAYING: "Today the government leaders assembled here will sign the London Declaration, committing to several bold new steps forward." There were a few raised eyebrows at William and Harry's attendance, though - after reports they had spent the weekend hunting deer and wild boar on a private estate in Spain.