Huge China ivory haul reveals extent of trade: report

May 27, 2013
This picture taken on February 20, 2013 shows a Chinese man walking past an ivory tusk display at a shop in Beijing. A huge haul of illegal ivory in China has revealed the vast scale of the trade and flaws in the country's system of legal ivory sales, a wildlife monitoring group said.

A huge haul of illegal ivory in China has revealed the vast scale of the trade and flaws in the country's system of legal ivory sales, a wildlife monitoring group said.

A court heard that authorities seized a total of 7.7 tonnes of on a series of occasions in 2011, reports said last week, and three people were jailed for terms ranging from seven to 15 years in connection with the case.

The seizure represented the ivory of more than 800 elephants, wildlife monitoring group Traffic said in a statement.

China has a legal market in ivory, which is supplied from a stockpile of 62 tonnes of ivory bought with international approval in 2008. But critics have accused the legal trade of masking a much larger illegal market.

One of the convicts managed several legal ivory shops, showing a systematic attempt to "launder illegal ivory into the legal marketplace on a grand scale", Traffic said.

"The magnitude of these seizures is a shocking blow to the integrity of China's legal system," the release quoted Traffic spokesman Tom Milliken as saying.

The group added that the Chinese report brought the total estimated weight of ivory seized in 2011 to a "staggering" 46.5 tonnes, making it the worst year for ivory smuggling on record.

Seized ivory tusks are displayed during a Hong Kong Customs press conference on January 4, 2013. A huge haul of illegal ivory in China has revealed the vast scale of the trade and flaws in the country's system of legal ivory sales, a wildlife monitoring group said.

"2011 was already the worst year for the volume of ivory seized since records were first compiled in 1989, but this new information puts the annual total into the astronomic zone," Milliken said.

WWF estimates that around 25,000 were hunted for ivory in 2011, and predicts an even higher toll for 2012. There could be as few as 470,000 left, it says.

Experts say that most illegal ivory is taken to China, with some estimating the country accounts for as much as 70 percent of .

But conservation groups have also praised China for making high-profile arrests of major ivory smugglers.

"Authorities in China are to be congratulated for this breakthrough," Traffic said in the statement Friday, "but must endeavour to follow up on every possible lead to ensure this ivory supply line between Africa to is well and truly severed."

Explore further: Dubai seizes 259 smuggled African ivory tusks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Record ivory seizures in 2011: watchdog

Dec 29, 2011

The past 12 months has seen a record number of large ivory seizures across the world, confirming a sharp increase in the illegal trade in recent years, a wildlife watchdog said Thursday.

Dubai seizes 259 smuggled African ivory tusks

May 21, 2013

A shipment of 259 elephant tusks smuggled out of Africa has been seized in the United Arab Emirates, the International Wildlife Fund for Animal Welfare said Tuesday.

Malaysia seizes million-dollar ivory shipment

Dec 13, 2011

Malaysia has seized elephant tusks and ivory handicrafts worth an estimated four million ringgit ($1.3 million) en route from Kenya to Cambodia, a customs official said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

2 hours ago

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

12 hours ago

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VENDItardE
2.3 / 5 (3) May 27, 2013
Ivory trade needs to be banned............PERIOD

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...