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  • China Seizes 2,748 Elephant Tusks in Major Operation

    | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 April 2019

"This case represents the largest amount of elephant tusks seized in a single case investigated independently by the General Administration of Customs' anti-smuggling bureau in recent years," said Sun Zhijie, director of the administration's anti-smuggling bureau.

The Chinese authorities seized 2,748 elephant tusks, which is equivalent to 7.5 tonnes of ivory, during a large-scale operation to crack down on the sale of illegal wildlife products. 

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The operation was led by their customs officers and police in six provinces across China, the General Administration of Customs said in a recent statement

"This case represents the largest amount of elephant tusks seized in a single case investigated independently by the General Administration of Customs' anti-smuggling bureau in recent years," said Sun Zhijie, director of the administration's anti-smuggling bureau.

Since the end of 2017, China has banned ivory sales in a bid to prevent this trade and close down one of the largest markets in the world. 

The operation "destroyed an international criminal organisation that for a long time has specialised in smuggling ivory tusks," The Sun reported.

The report added that 20 suspects were detained by the Chinese authorities during the operation.

Smugglers often shipped these elephant tusks from Africa to several countries around the world.

TRAFFIC, an international NGO monitoring wildlife trade, said in a press release that the seizure was potentially the second biggest ivory seizure worldwide on record.

According to the AFP, Ivory is seen as a status symbol in China. Other illegal wildlife products, such as pangolin scales, continue to see demand for their supposed medicinal properties.​​​​​​​


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