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Cites conference concludes with decisions on regulating wildlife trade

UN body has strengthened actions to combat illicit wildlife trafficking and increase protection of species.

An elephant cow and calf. Picture: Francis Garrard/Conservation Action Trust.

JOHANNESBURG - The world's largest wildlife conservation conference has ended in Sandton with a raft of decisions on regulating legal, sustainable and traceable trade in wildlife.

The UN body has strengthened actions to combat illicit wildlife trafficking and increase protection to entire groups of species.

Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of flora and fauna John Scanlon calls the Conference of the Parties in Sandton the most critical meeting that Cites has delivered for the world's wildlife in its 43 years of existence.

He told the closing ceremony, which came a day earlier than scheduled, that the conference is a game changer for the planet's most vulnerable wild animals and plants.

The more than 3,500 delegates took decisions on 62 species including retaining the ban on the sale of ivory and rhino horn.