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Elephant tusks: the new blood diamonds

Blood Ivory

A Kenya Wildlife Service officer numbers elephant ivory tusks on July 3, 2013 after a container destined to Malasyia full of tusks was seized in a private yard at the ports of Mombasa. (Ivan Lieman/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Militant groups in Central and East Africa are cashing in on the lucrative ivory trade to fund their operations across the continent, threatening both regional security and the survival of Africa’s endangered elephants.

Demand from increasingly affluent Chinaand Southeast Asian nations has driven a surge in elephant poaching in recent years, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of the animals annually, wildlife monitoring groups say.

But in a new development, armed insurgent groups like Uganda’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Somalia’s Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab and Sudan’s Janjaweed militia are joining organized criminal networks as major players in the illicit trade.

FULL STORY

 

HK seizes baby elephant tusks in major ivory haul

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AFP/AFP/File – Seized ivory tusks are displayed during a Hong Kong Customs press conference on January 4, 2013. More than 1,000 ivory tusks, mainly from baby elephants, were seized by Hong Kong customs in their biggest haul in three years, officials said on Friday

More than 1,000 ivory tusks, mainly from baby elephants, were seized by Hong Kong customs in their biggest haul in three years, officials said on Friday.

The tusks, which weigh over two tonnes and are worth more than US$2 million, 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.

FULL STORY.