In October 2013, Hong Kong officials seized large shipments of elephant tusks from West Africa. The city’s border control found 189 tusks, weighing over 1,600 pounds and with a black market value of more than one million dollars. The seizure came about two months after the last major haul of 1,000 elephant tusks from Nigeria, which also contained rhino horns and leopard skins worth more than $5 million.
In China, ivory is a popular luxury investment along with leopard skins, which are desired as fashion items and decoration. According to custom officials, the large containers arrived at the city’s maritime port from Cote d’Ivoire in separate shipments.
With rare exceptions, international trade in elephant ivory has been outlawed since 1989. Vincent Wong, Hong Kong customs head of ports and maritime command stated that Hong Kong is committed to prevent any more trafficking of endangered wildlife.
Source: Agence France-Presse, “Hong Kong Seizes Elephant Tusks Worth $1 Million,” Agence France-Presse/The Raw Story, October 3, 2013, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/03/hong-kong-seizes-elephant-tusks-worth-1-million/.
Student Researcher: Ali Palermo (Sonoma State University)
Community Evaluator: Maryanne Mace (journalist/travel agent, Safari Safari)