China’s lust for ivory isn’t just slaughtering elephants. It’s also destabilizing Africa Gwynn Guilford, Quartz August 7, 2013 Hong Kong customs officials just confiscated a Nigerian shipment of 1,120 elephant tusks—part of a haul of rhino horns and leopard pelts that totaled around $5.3 million in value.
In July, HK customs seized 1,148 tusks worth $2.3 million in a shipment from Togo, and confiscated another 780 tusks worth $1.14 million back in January. Those three shipments alone add up to at least 1,525 dead elephants—scary, considering as few as 400,000 elephants are left on the planet. Since ivory is traded illegally, the best way to capture poaching trends is to look at customs seizures, which suggest a sharp recent rise in killings: