Poaching puts African fauna and flora at risk of extinction

The poaching crisis in Africa is getting worse on a daily basis, putting dozens of species at risk of extinction and threatening the economic stability of the continent.

It's not just the elephants and rhinos you hear about that are in danger. It's also plants like aloe vera and other species which are being overharvested for the "global cosmetic, food and beverage industries."

That's the word this week from wildlife conservation experts and policy makers where are attending the 9th Governing council of the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora, an inter-governmental formed in 1994 to fight wildlife crime in six African nations.

According to a report from The New Times, illegal trade in "rhino horns, hippo teeth, primates like Gorillas and African monkeys, skins of leopards, zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, pythons, turtle shells, coral shells, snakes, crocodiles, birds and many other species" is worth over $120 million a year.

Lusaka representatives blamed the proliferation of weapons and the almost non-existent legislation that could prosecute poachers for the rapid increase in illegal harvesting.

The Lusaka team is trying to get more countries to come on board, but it's hasn't been easy. Many African stations still aren't signatories to the Convention in Trade on Endangered Species (CITES), which governs the international species trade.