By Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Correspondent, Africa | Jul 19, 2013
The largest seizure of blood ivory since 2010 took place yesterday at Hong Kong harbour, when 1.148 tusks were discovered in a container shipped from Togo. The tusks, which weigh over two tons and are worth more than 2 million dollars, were discovered at the city's main port in a cargo container from the African country of Togo.
It was headed for mainland China and the bags of tusks were hidden beneath planks of wood. Customs officials in Hong Kong confirmed the find. No arrests have been reported at this stage but the international task force, comprising among others CITES personnel and Interpol investigators, are now reportedly working with the Hong Kong authorities to establish the origin of the ivory through forensic tests and DNA analysis.
The haul is estimated to have a street value of around 2.3 million US Dollars, and while dealing a financial blow to the illicit underground smuggling network still points to the death of nearly 600 elephant, slaughtered for their tusks.