14 Apr 2012

Rise in elephant poaching

8:55 am on 14 April 2012

Elephant poaching is on the rise despite an international ban on the trade in ivory.

Seizures of illegal ivory last year were the largest for more than two decades.

The BBC reports much of the material ends up in China.

A ban on international trade came into force in 1989, but the future of the African elephant could be at risk.

Thousands of elephants are killed each year in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Conservationists fear that fewer than 20,000 elephants remain in the Congo basin.

Poached ivory is openly on sale at markets in Kinshasa, the capital of DRC.

The BBC reports that a Chinese undercover reporter working for the Panorama TV programme was offered whole raw ivory tusks, including a

piece about 1.5 metres long for $US10,000.

Poached ivory from Congo or other countries is often shipped via Kenya.

Nearly 85% of ivory seized around the world that could be traced, came from or passed through East Africa, much of it via the international airport at Nairobi.

Several large seizures have been made in Malaysia, amounting to six tonnes of ivory that would have come from approximately 700 dead elephants.