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Living Planet

Wildlife delegates endorse plan to end Africa's illicit ivory trade

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Elephants crossing the the Zambezi river

The African elephant has a new line of defence against poachers after a global wildlife conference meeting in Bangkok this week approved measures aimed at wiping out the continent's illegal ivory trade. A majority of the representatives of the 166 signatory countries of the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, agreed on the plan to eradicate illicit ivory sales. By and large, the conference has been quite a success, with better protection agreed for endangered species such as rare Asian timber and the great white shark. John Hay talked with Gordon Shephard, policy director with the global conservation organisation WWF International, and asked him about the good news that has come out the Bangkok meeting.

Wangari Maathai's Green Belt Movement

Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai last week became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, honoured for fighting poverty by trying to save the continent's shrinking forests. Maathai's Green Belt Movement, comprised mainly of women, has planted up to 30 million trees across Africa to combat creeping deforestation. Planting trees slows desertification, preserves forest habitats for wildlife and provides a source of fuel, building materials and food for future generations. In addition, trees soak up carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. Little wonder then, that Wangari Maathai, this week urged wealthy nations to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change to ease the burden of pollution on poor countries. Karin Keils reports.

Mass tourism threatens marine life along Turkey's Lycian Coast

Between the towns of Patara and Antalya, the Lycian Coast on Turkey's western Mediterranean coastline is relatively pristine and undisturbed. The region is home to endangered loggerhead turtles and monk seals and is also rich in archaeological ruins of the ancient Lycian civilisation. Nearly 5-million tourists visit this region every year, and now, there are growing fears that mass tourism development will cause irreversible damage to the coast's fragile marine ecosystem. Guy Degen reports on how the international conservation group WWF is attempting to protect the biodiversity along the Lycian Coast.

CMS competition

The United Nations Convention on Migratory Species, based in Bonn, is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary. The convention is designed to help countries preserve animal species such as elephants, whales, and birds which cross national borders and are under severe threat from hunting or fishing, habitat loss and pollution. We would like to know: what role do migratory species such as birds and dolphins play in the songs, poems, legends and religious beliefs of your country? Write in and tell us about it. Either by sending a letter or postcard to the English Service of DW radio at 53110 Bonn, Germany, or an email to mailbag@dw-world.de . The most interesting entries will be read out on Mailbag or Living Planet and will be rewarded with prizes sponsored by the United Nations Convention on Migratory species.

Econews: Greenhouse Gas Jump Shows Kyoto Vital; Ecuador Seen Losing Glaciers to Global Warming; China Seen as Biggest Driver of Ivory Market; Bangladesh Sees Tiger Numbers Up in Mangrove Swamps