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Report: Illegal wildlife trade worth £12bn

Trafficking of wildlife and products such as timber and rhino horn is one of the world's biggest illegal trades, worth £12 billion a year, conservationists have warned.

Rhino horn is now worth more than £37,000 pounds a kilo Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive

Species such as rhinos, elephants and tigers are being poached in Africa and Asia, while antique collections, museums and even zoos in the UK are at risk from criminal gangs attempting to steal rhino horn, conservation group WWF said.

Rhino horn is now worth more than £37,000 a kilo, fetching more on the black market than diamonds and cocaine, leading to a surge of poaching in South Africa to record highs last year. It is particularly sought after in Vietnam.

Elephants are also being targeted for their ivory, with poaching across Africa at record levels in 2011.