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."
Immigration officers have questioned and released a 21-year-old Italian woman suspected of being the 'bride' in a bogus wedding. They halted proceedings as the ceremony began. The 'groom' - a Sri Lankan man - was found to have outstayed his visa.
Immigration officers have halted a suspected 'sham wedding' in Harrow after they were tipped off the relationship wasn't genuine. Just before the marriage ceremony, officers stepped in to question a 23-year-old Sri Lankan man, who was found to have overstayed his visa.
The man has been placed on immigration bail while his case progresses. If he's found to have no leave to remain, he will be deported.
The Home Office has said it will reconsider future immigration campaigns after refugee organisations threatened legal action over its 'Go home or face arrest' adverts.
People who use the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (Ramfel), last month told the Home Office it had until August 8 to agree to ditch the "offensive" campaign or they would apply for a judicial review.
David Wood, the Home Office's director general for immigration enforcement has written to Deighton Pierce Glynn, stating:
[The] billboards stage of the operation has already ceased and the accompanying promotional material - leaflets, posters and adverts - does not refer to the number of arrests in the vicinity.
Instead, it sets out how an immigration offender can approach the Home Office without fear of arrest or detention. We do not consider it necessary to remove these latter campaign materials from public display and public premises.
Labour MP Chris Bryant said the Home Office advertisements to encourage illegal immigrants to leave the country were "poorly worded and tasteless, " and branded the government's immigration policy in general as adding up to "cheap and nasty gimmicks."
While poorly worded and tasteless ad vans were touring London begging illegal immigrants to hand themselves in we learned that the Home Office had not been fingerprinting migrants stopped at Calais for three years, and has not followed up 90% of its on intelligence on illegal immigration.
In short, the government's immigration policy adds up to cheap and nasty gimmicks, rather than serious proposals or practical measures to tackle illegal entry.
Human rights group Liberty said the Home Office has to "really think carefully" after the advertising watchdog launched a formal investigation into its "Go Home" illegal immigration campaign.
Liberty's Rachel Robinson told ITV News, "We know for a lot of people out there that's brought back terrible memories of the last 'Go Home' campaign we had in this country, which was of course orchestrated by the National Front in the 1970s.
"I think the Home Office have to really think carefully before they use this kind of language".