$15 bln. a year on illegal trade

World turnover of illegal trade of wild animals totals some 15 billion dollars a year in the world, Sergei Ganusevich, an expert of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, told a press conference in Moscow on Monday.

"The illegal trade of wild animals holds the second place after drug trafficking," he noted.

According to Peter Pueschel, the chairman of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, about 100 rare animal species are annually eliminated on the planet. "This problem is especially vital in Russia, a country with a richest flora and fauna," he said.

According to Sergei Ganusevich, birds of prey are main victims of smugglers in Russia. These birds are highly popular in Arab countries.

The populations of the Amur tiger and the rarest far-Eastern leopard have reduced to 350 and 30 individuals correspondingly as a result of active poaching, experts said.

"China has a big market of illegal animal trade. More than 500 species of animals living in Russia are used in the Chinese oriental medicine," Ganusevich concluded.

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