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31st August 2011
Police have seized a shipment of 1,041 elephant tusks in Tanzania heading for Malaysia
Officials have said the ivory was hidden in a container of anchovies, where the strong smell would have normally put off any investigations into the crate.
Two transport agents are being held by police, after the container was offloaded in Zanzibar two weeks ago.
Will Travers, CEO of Born Free a wildlife charity, said, "Just imagine discovering the remains of at least 521 dead elephants in a single haul.
“This news has truly numbed us all to the core, and made us even more determined to redouble our efforts in the fight against elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade.”
A recent report by the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants Programme (MIKE) has revealed that poaching levels are rising in east, southern and central Africa.
Shelley Waterland, Born Free's wildlife trade expert said, “There are not enough elephants left on this planet to meet Asian demand for ivory.
"Enforcement efforts are essential, but so is reducing demand. Many fragile populations will simply not survive for very much longer if this level of threat continues unabated.”
Customs officers in Hong Kong have since seized another 794 pieces of ivory tusk, weighing 1.9 tonnes, from a shipping container which arrived from Malaysia.
Dr Colman O'Criodain, WWF's Wildlife Trade Policy Analyst said, "WWF applauds Hong Kong and Tanzania for disrupting these ivory shipments, which represent the deaths of many hundreds of elephants.
"We are increasingly seeing Malaysia as a transit country for illegal wildlife products and we urge Malaysia to direct more attention to monitoring the goods passing through its ports."
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) officially banned ivory trade in 1989, but has also permitted Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Japan and China to make one off ivory trades.
Check out our Tanzania travel guide for advice, tips and info | Destinations... More
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