HK grabs huge shipment of illegal ivory

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 7:42pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 July, 2013, 7:45pm


HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong customs officers say they have made their biggest seizure of illegal ivory tusks in several years, confiscating more than two tons of elephant tusks worth an estimated $2.25 million.

Officials say that 1,148 pieces of ivory tusks were found in a container from Togo that was declared to be carrying shipping planks.

Simon Ng, head of port control at Hong Kong Customs, said Friday that the tusks were thought to be from young elephants because the average weight of the tusks was only 1.9 kilograms (4.1 pounds), lighter than in past cases.

Wildlife activists blame China's growing presence in Africa for an unprecedented surge in poaching of elephants for their tusks, most of which are believed to be smuggled into China and Thailand to make ivory ornaments.