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For many of the planet's rarest creatures,poaching looms as the final danger.

The international community has harnessed some illegal wildlife trade. But where governments don’t have the will or the funds to back up their plans,poaching has made major inroads.

Protected species become the target of traders who don’t hesitate to turn an uncommon creature into a bangle for a buck.

No part of the world is safe from poaching:-

AFRICA: Elephant populations fell from several million to no more than 500,000 over two decades as poachers worked a billion-dollar illegal ivory trade. Despite a total ban on international ivory sales in 1989, some illegal killing of elephants continues.

ASIA: It's well-known that the illegal trade in traditional medicine has ravaged the rhino population.Sumatran rhinos have suffered a 50% decline since the 1985.But controls to save the world's remaining 24,000 rhinos have been seriously hampered by funding shortfalls.

EUROPE: Sturgeon, whose unfertilized eggs are the source of caviar, are threatened worldwide, with populations down as much as two-thirds. Most caviar comes from three species in the Caspian Sea, a center of poaching and illegal trade.

NORTH AMERICA: American black bears are the world's most plentiful, but could be threatened as fewer endangered Asian bears are available for use in traditional medicine. Alaskan grizzly bears are also poached for their gallbladders and paws.

PACIFIC: International whaling agreements limit the number killed for meat, but loopholes continue to allow some forms of hunting. As many as 10-15 percent of whales caught and sold on the market in Japan may be protected species.

SOUTH AMERICA: Wild-caught birds like parrots and macaws are a prime target for the international exotic pet trade, despite their protected status. As many as 50,000 birds a year, mostly parrots, may be smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border.

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