MOSCOW, February 14 (RAPSI) - Russia, the US, and some countries in Asia, Africa and Europe have signed a declaration in London to combat the illegal trade of wild animals, their products and derivatives, the official website of the UK government announced.

The declaration contains all the measures necessary to prevent the illegal trade of rhinoceros horns, elephant tusks and tiger body parts. Wild animal trade not only endangers species but also undermines the economy and is an extra source of funding for criminal groups. The illegal trade of animals and their derivatives is estimated as over $19 bln a year.

“Key countries, including Botswana, Chad, China, Gabon, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Tanzania and Vietnam, as well as the United States and Russia have committed to take action to eradicate demand for products of wild animals and to ensure compliance with the laws and the development of the regions that have been involved in such crimes, with a particular focus on the conservation of the environment,” the statement says.

The declaration binds 46 countries with an obligation to maintain the ban on ivory trade and to opt out of the use of products made from species on the verge of extinction.

The laws of these countries must be amended to classify poaching and illegal animal trade as serious crimes.

In June 2013, the State Duma introduced criminal liability with up to seven years imprisonment for the hunting and trading of endangered species.