Wildlife regulator records 20,000 elephants poached in Africa in 2013

GENEVA — An international wildlife regulator says more than 20,000 elephants were poached last year in Africa, where large seizures of smuggled ivory eclipsed those in Asia for the first time.

Officials with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) say 80 percent of the African seizures were in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, three of the eight nations required to draw up action plans to curb ivory smuggling.

But CITES, which banned ivory trade in 1989, says in a report that the overall poaching numbers in 2013 dropped from the previous two years due to better law enforcement and public attention to the problem.