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COMMERCIAL PHOTO - In this photograph released by WWF-Canon via AP Images, ñ Mba Ndong Marius, an Eco Guard from Oyem, holds seized ivory tusks and stands in front of confiscated weapons following an anti-poaching patrol in northern Gabon on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba last year created an elite military unit whose mission is to secure Gabon's parks and to protect wildlife, especially against poaching and illegal trade of ivory. Across Central Africa, thousands of elephants are killed each year for their tusks, which are in demand as carvings and ornaments in Asia. An estimated 5,000 to 12,000 elephants are killed each year for their ivory. Gabon's work to put an end to ivory related wildlife crime has the strong support and involvement of WWF. (WWF-Canon / James Morgan via AP Images)

Africa's poaching crisis

Africa's

biggest animals were poached in near record numbers in 2012, with

surging demand for horn and ivory from Asia driving the slaughter of

rhinos and elephants. Poachers have killed hundreds of rhinos in South Africa and thousands of elephants, according to environment ministry figures.