Quite apart from the decimation of illegal poaching, legal export to Asian markets is tearing the wild heart out of Africa. Each year thousands of tonnes of live animals, bones, skins and meat head East in a plunder with no end in sight.
The scale at which Africa's wildlife is being drained by Eastern market demand is enormous, according to a report by the wildlife monitoring network Traffic released this week.
The focus on wildlife trade from Africa generally centres on the illegal trade and the massive poaching of iconic species such as elephants and rhinos. However, comparatively little attention has been given to legal wildlife trade from the continent.
According to Traffic, between 2006 and 2015, almost 1.4-million live animals and plants, 1.5-million skins and 2-million kilograms of meat from Cites-listed species were legally exported from 41 African countries to 17 countries in East and South-east Asia.
The report - Eastward Bound - Analysis of Cites-listed flora and fauna export from Africa to East and South-east Asia - warns that these export volumes are huge and escalating.
South Africa proved to be the largest seller of live birds, mammals and plants. Namibia was, by far, the...