The head of the United Nations environment agency has called on the international community to fight the illegal wildlife trade.
Achim Steiner, speaking in Bangkok, said a massive rise in the poaching of endangered African elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns should be a “wake-up call” for the world.
Steiner said the illicit trade in protected wildlife species generates billions of dollars a year, making it comparable to illegal drugs and weapons sales.
The UN official was speaking at the opening meeting of the 178-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The convention has granted protected status to some 35,000 species of plants and animals, including sharks, tigers, and polar bears.
With reporting by AP