Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2011: "Annus horribilis" for African Elephants

Although there has been no official confirmation of the volume of ivory trade in 2011 ,what is clear is that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of large-scale seizures, over 800 kg in weight. Once the records of hundreds of smaller ivory seizures are at hand, 2011 could well prove be the worst year ever for elephants in the database. This compares to six large seizures in 2010, whose total weight was just under 10 tonnes. A conservative estimate of the weight of ivory seized in the 13 largest seizures in 2011 puts the figure at more than 23 tonnes, a figure that probably represents some 2,500 elephants. The smugglers also appear to have shifted away from using air to sea freight: in early 2011, three of the large scale ivory seizures were at airports, but later in the year most were found in sea freight.

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