Saturday, 31 December 2011

Elephant poaching: 'Record year' for ivory seizures

More elephant tusks were seized in 2011 than in any year since 1989, when the ivory trade was banned, international wildlife trade group Traffic says.


The group said elephants have had a "horrible year", with 23 tonnes of ivory seized - representing at least 2,500 dead animals.

Trade in ivory was banned in 1989 to save elephants from extinction.

But it has continued illegally because of huge demand in Asia, where it is used to make decorative objects.

"The escalating large ivory quantities involved in 2011 reflect both a rising demand in Asia and the increasing sophistication of the criminal gangs behind the trafficking," said a statement from Traffic, which monitors the trade in wildlife products.

"Most illegal shipments of African elephant ivory end up in either China or Thailand."

Shifting smuggling routes
The group said there had been at least 13 large seizures of ivory this year, amounting to more than 23 tonnes, compared to six last year of less than 10 tonnes.

"In 23 years of compiling ivory seizure data... this is the worst year ever for large ivory seizures. 2011 has truly been a horrible year for elephants," Traffic's elephant expert Tom Milliken said.

Read more:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16353204

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