Asian-run organized crime syndicates based in Africa are behind the increase in illegal trade in elephant ivory, according to a study by TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network of WWF and IUCN)
This illegal ivory then feeds unregulated domestic ivory markets in several East Asian countries. Markets in China create a high demand for illicit ivory, which arrives either directly or through ports such as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Japan and Thailand are also important final destinations. Ivory often flows through the Philippines.
Tom Milliken,Director of TRAFFIC’s Africa program and the principal author of the study said:
Central Africa is currently hemorrhaging ivory and these three
Countries are major conduits for trafficking illicit ivory from the region
to international markets.
Based on a study of nearly 12,400 seizures of tusks in 82 nations since 1989, wildlife trade monitor TRAFFIC said big seizures of a tonne or more grew both in number and in size from 17 between 1989 and 1997 to 32 between 1998 and 2006.
The study identified the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Nigeria as the three nations most heavily implicated as the sources of ivory in this illegal trade.
Ethiopia, is the only country, which has effectively clamped down on its domestic ivory market, the other African countries should follow suit if they want to save the lives of these intelligent animals.