Millions of pounds are made each year by traffickers who sell trophy animals on the black market. Big cats, hippos teeth and tortoises are among record numbers confiscated by Border Agency officials at Heathrow over the past year.
London Zoo has now been called upon to give some of them a new home and a second chance.
The Border Force is seizing record numbers of endangered species at Heathrow Airport.The capital is seen as a hub for the trade due to its international transport links. London Zoo is part of a project to re-home illegally imported creatures.
Staff there say their role is crucial to the survival of species targeted by poachers, as David Wood reports:
Grant Miller, senior officer on the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITIES) Border Force team at Heathrow has said the market in endangered animal items being trafficked into the country is evolving.
He said there is a significant increase in items in such as ivory from west and central Africa being trafficked through London's "logistic hub".
"We pick up between 5-15 kilo of ivory at time. The heartbreaking thing is it quite clearly new ivory from recently slaughted elephants."
London Zoo is looking after some precious new arrivals tonight - two Mangabey Monkeys. Without the zoo's help the animals would become extinct. But as Sharon Thomas explains, a breeding programme and a little bit of patience - will help ensure their survival in the wild.
"After a carefully-managed introduction process, the two girls are getting along famously with the rest of the group," say zookeepers, "With dominant male Lucky taking a particular liking to Mo - who quite enjoys the flirty attention."
An excited labrador who loved visiting to the beach ended up taking home a little more than he bargained for.
Owner Kim Woollard said three year old Barney was clearly uncomfortable when he got home from Sheerness beach and began vomiting stones.
Kim took Barney for an x-ray and was shocked when she saw the extent of the dog's stone collection.
Roger Bralow from Stone Lion Veterinary Hospital in Wimbledon said "While its normal for dogs on the beach to scavenge and, in so doing, swallow a few pebbles, the sheer volume he consumed is unusual and had the potential to cause him serious internal injuries."
After an operation to remove the rest of the stones, Barney is now making a good recovery.