Connect to share and comment
Record-breaking seizure of four tons of African ivory can likely be attributed to increased demand in Asia and the Middle East
Authorities in Hong Kong seized a whopping four tons of illegal African ivory earlier this week, in a record-breaking seizure that can likely be attributed to surging demand for the stuff in Asia and the Middle East.
The BBC reports the stock of ivory, worth around $3.4 million, was seized in shipping containers and appears to have originated in Kenya and Tanzania.
Read more from GlobalPost: TIme to ban ivory for good?
CNN reports the shipment weighed in at over 8,000 pounds, comprising 1,209 tusks and three pounds of ivory ornaments.
"This is the biggest haul of ivory tusk in Hong Kong customs enforcement history in a single operation," said Lam Tak-fai, the head of Hong Kong's Ports and Maritime Command, to the BBC.
Read more from GlobalPost: Hong Kong: record seizure of illegal rhino horns, ivory
That's more than widely-publicized November 2011 ivory seizure in Hong Kong, weighing in at about 190 pounds of rhino horns, ivory chopsticks and jewelry, and estimated to be worth about $2.2 million.
What do people want with ivory circa-2012? It's often used for traditional medicines, especially in Asia, and it makes for a commanding home decoration for the upwardly mobile.
This sounds all well and good, but it's rather hard to prove ivory is pre-1989, providing a handy fallback for a lucrative trade.
And demand is booming: CNN reports that elephant poaching is on a serious upswing in Africa, largely due to escalating demand from the swiftly-growing Chinese middle class.