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Illegal trade in wildlife accelerates around the world

Nearly 200 governments are to meet in Thailand to discuss ways of halting the illegal trade in wildlife around the world.

Elephant and rhino are among the animals being killed for their tusks and horns as conservation groups warn that the scale of slaughter is accelerating.

Mary Rice from the Environmental Investigations Agency has said "the enforcement effort tends to end at seizure, the poachers get arrested and convicted, you might get the odd middleman".

"The guys who mastermind the efforts, the guys who invest in the operations to acquire large amounts of ivory, for example, have never been intercepted," she added.

Thailand itself has been accused of being a transit route for endangered animals being shipped between Africa and China.

From Bangkok, David Shukman reports.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday 4 March 2013.