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Ten African countries have proposed that hippopotamus be given the highest protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora’s (CITES) official list of endangered animals.

Hippos are already listed as an appendix II species, which means they are not necessarily threatened with extinction but could become so if their trade is not regulated.

Activists from the 10 countries want hippos to be reclassified as ‘appendix I’, the highest level, which would make it completely illegal to trade in hippo body parts and ivory.

A species only becomes officially ‘endangered’ when the CITES says so. It will be known whether hippos will be classified as endangered or not until the next CITES meeting in Panama in November.

Native to Africa, hippopotamuses are huge, water-loving animals. They are also among the largest and dangerous land mammals on the planet.

The current status of the global hippo population is so precarious. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that between 115,000 and 130,000 common hippos remain in the wild thus have become 20 percent fewer than there were in 1990.

Read the original article on New Times.