African and Asian states sign deal to halt illegal ivory trade

Several African and Asian states, including China, have struck a deal aimed at tackling the illegal ivory trade.

The deal was struck at the at the "African Elephant Summit" being held in Gaborone, Botswana, where organisers warned the illegal trade in ivory threatens to decimate the continent's elephant population.

The summit, convened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, issued a list of measures that governments had agreed to, including tougher sentences for poaching and trafficking, better monitoring of elephant numbers and more cross-border co-operation.

"Our window of opportunity to tackle the growing illegal ivory trade is closing and if we do not stem the tide, future generations will condemn our unwillingness to act," said Botswana's President Ian Khama.

The new measures were agreed on by Gabon, Kenya, Zambia, China and Thailand.

About 22,000 elephants were illegally killed across Africa in 2012, according to reports.

Image: © Getty

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