Fate of rarities hangs in balance

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The Independent Online

The fate of dozens of rare wildlife species will be on the agenda at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in Kenya, with heated debate expected over withdrawing or introducing protection.

Trading regulations may be brought in for the first time for the world's three largest sharks.

The United States is proposing restrictions on trade in the whale shark, the world's biggest fish, while the UK is suggesting restricting trade on the basking shark.

The Americans and Australians want a total ban on trade in the great white shark.

But the Cubans say trade in the shells of the hawksbill turtle should be opened up. It was listed as "critically endangered" in 1996 after the species declined by 80 per cent in50 years.

Plants being considered for trade bans include that alternative lifestyle favourite, ginseng, and the monkey puzzle tree.