1st Wildlife Day marks elephant, rhino deaths

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The United Nations Environmental Program is marking the U.N.'s first ever World Wildlife Day to raise awareness about an illicit global trade in illegal timber, elephant ivory and rhino horns worth an estimated $19 billion.

UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said Monday that World Wildlife Day can help remind the world that humans living on Earth today will determine if endangered species will survive and be seen by future generations.

Paula Khumbu, the executive director of the group Wildlife Direct, said she fears that elephants, rhinos and lions could be extinct by 2030. Poachers have increasingly been targeting elephants and rhinos for a growing consumer class in Asia.

Steiner said China is working to stop the illegal importation of ivory but that the country is vast with a large border.

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