By Henry Williams.
Authorities in Malaysia have seized 1,500 elephant tusks on their way to China.
The shipment, valued at 121 million yuan, was found in two containers at Port Klang container port, near Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur.
Hidden within pieces of timber, the tusks are thought to have originated in Togo, and travelled via Europe before heading to Asia. Overall, the hidden cargo weighed 24 tons.
With increasing demand from an affluent China, trade in ivory has attracted the attention of organised, and armed, mafias – according to the International Herald Tribune. The price of ivory has shot past US$1,000 a pound in some markets.
Zoologist, Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton wonders when it’s going to end:
“It’s extremely depressing. The price of ivory is making this situation insane.”
Just two months ago, authorities in Hong Kong seized 1,209 elephant tusks hidden in containers shipped from Tanzania and Kenya.