"We've got to stop these guys" UN wildlife chief slams rosewood trade

John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, addressing #CoP17, the largest ever World Wildlife Conference, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: CITES Flickr account.

"We've got to stop" the criminals who have turned endangered rosewood into the world's most trafficked wild product.

That's the urgent alarm being raised by John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which is part of the UN's environmental conservation effort.

The convention is holding its largest ever conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, and dozens of new trade controls affecting nearly 500 species, have been put forward by 64 countries from across the world.

The UN estimates that a huge increase in demand for rosewood, especially in China, means that it now accounts for a third of all wildlife seizures.

Mr Scanlon told Matthew Wells that the very survival of the 300 different species of the prized tropical hardwood, was now at stake.

Duration: 4'42"

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