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Last Updated: Tuesday September 05 2006 07:54 GMT

Warning about cruel animal gifts

Illegally traded elephant ivory

People are being warned to think carefully about the sort of souvenirs they bring back from their holidays.

A survey found that lots of people bring back animal parts like elephant ivory, zebra skin and lion claws.

Experts are worried that if people don't stop buying these mementoes, more animals will be killed to make money, which could threaten their species.

They say it's much better to buy gifts made by local people rather than from animals that might be endangered.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) reckons that over the past five years more than half a million British tourists have bought home souvenirs made from wild animals.

Illegal

A zebra

As well as gifts made from elephants, zebras and lions, people also took home porcupine quills, reptile and cheetah skins and wild animal teeth.

Selling animal parts of endangered creatures is illegal in most countries.

A spokeswoman for IFAW said the problem was that travellers who see the things for sale probably assume they are being legally sold but this is not always the case.