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African Wildlife Foundation to strengthen anti-poaching measures

NAIROBI, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) on Tuesday said it's working to strengthen law enforcement across sub-Saharan Africa as part of efforts to battle the surge in poaching and wildlife trafficking.

Dr. Philip Muruthi, a senior director of the Conservation Science of the AWF, welcomed news that poaching in Africa has declined due to enhanced anti-poaching measures, citing the latest report from the global trade monitoring group.

The latest report from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora showed that more than 20,000 elephants were poached in Africa in 2013, in comparison to the 25,000 killed in 2011 and the 22,000 killed in 2012.

"This is good news that the figures are declining, but the rate of poaching is still far too high and unsustainable," Muruthi said.

"The loss of one of Kenya's largest and most famous bull elephants to poachers this weekend is a stark reminder of this, and we must continue strengthening our efforts on the ground," he added.

The report noted that 80 percent of the seizures occurred in three countries: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Poverty, weak governance, and demand for ivory in Asia are cited as three main factors driving the elephant poaching in Africa.

AWF has additionally facilitated judicial luncheons and workshops to train lawyers and magistrates on the importance of prosecuting wildlife crimes and ensuring wildlife criminals feel the full brunt of the law they are breaking.

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