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  Wildlife criminals targeted to save species
Updated 22 April 2002, 17.20
Crocodile skin souvenirs
Some animal species are so close to extinction that a special unit has been set up to catch illegal traders.

Fact File
Illegal trade facts
Commonly smuggled live animals are reptiles, tortoises, turtles, parrots and macaws
Macaws can sell for 100,000
'Dead' items smuggled include coral, reptile skins and seashells

In 2001 nearly 600 illegal wildlife objects were smuggled into Britain.

Sometimes it's just holidaymakers who don't realise ivory or rare animals skins might be illegal.

But some criminals are selling endangered animals as exotic pets or to make medicines and fashion items.

  Click here for more on endangered animals
Thousands of badgers are used in cruel sports every year

The new unit will especially target people who sell stolen birds' eggs, smuggle endangered animals and take part in cruel sports like badger-baiting.

The egg-thieves are in danger of wiping out several bird species already.

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Find OutFind out about endangered animals
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QuizEndangered animals quiz
ClubKilling endangered whales

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
UK 'magnet' for illegal animal trade
'Mermaid' sea creature at risk
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Bears and tigers 'extinct in 20 years'
Snow leopard in danger

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Web Links
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World Wildlife Fund
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