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CITES looks at beating environmental crime

3,500 delegates from 182 countries have gathered in Sandton.

One of the two orphaned rhino calves, Binky, who survived a poaching attack at an Eastern Cape reserve. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - The world's largest wildlife conservation conference now underway in Sandton is hearing that fighting environmental crime has become a battle against sophisticated organised syndicates.

It's early days at the conference of the parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna.

The 3,500 delegates from 182 countries have barely made a dent on the agenda on regulating the treatment of 500 endangered plant, insect and animal species.

One thing is certain, there will be a more muscular international approach to beating environmental crime.

As Interpol's natural resources coordinator Davyth Stewart explains, the end game for the conservationists is only the starting line for the people responsible for bringing poachers and the like to book.

The battle for the future of species is moving from those sporting green to those in blue uniforms.