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Tourists fuelling endangered wildlife trade

Written by: Staff

London, Aug 16: Coral, ivory and snakeskin souvenirs brought home by unwitting British tourists are helping to push endangered species closer to extinction, environmental group WWF said today.

Traditional Chinese medicines made from endangered tigers, rhinos and seahorses also come top of WWF's blacklist of illegal holiday souvenirs.

''Although the latest figures indicate that some illegal wildlife trade items are being brought in knowingly by wildlife criminals, the majority of seizures appear to be items innocently brought back by holidaymakers as souvenirs,'' said Heather Sohl, wildlife trade officer at WWF.

''Our message is: if in doubt, don't buy.'' The group warns that at the height of the holiday season some tourists may try to bring home live snakes, iguanas and chameleons as household pets, while others attempt to transport protected plants such as orchids from abroad.

British customs officials confiscated more than 163,000 illegal wildlife trade items during the last year, many made from endangered species, WWF said.


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