Ivory Coast Seizes Huge Haul of Elephant Tusks and Pangolin Scales

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An elephant tusks batch seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents is pictured in Abidjan
An elephant tusks batch seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents is pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
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ABIDJAN (Reuters)

Around 600 kg of elephant tusks and 600 kg of pangolin scales have been seized in Ivory Coast, ready to be sent to Vietnam and other Asian countries, authorities said on Thursday

In an operation lasting several days that aimed to dismantle a major trafficking network, six suspects were arrested.

“The ivory was ready for export to Vietnam. The … pangolin scales were destined for Asia,” Bonaventure Adomo, head of Ivory Coast’s anti-smuggling unit, told reporters.

 

Bags of pangolin scales are pictured next to an elephant tusks batch seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents, in Abidjan
Bags of pangolin scales are pictured next to an elephant tusks batch seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents, Abidjan, Ivory Coast January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

 

 

The unit said two of the suspects came from Ivory Coast and one from Guinea, and that the ivory had come from as far afield as Gabon, Nigeria, Mozambique and Uganda.

The anti-trafficking group EAGLE, which worked with the authorities, said two of the suspects were from Vietnam and one from China.

 

Ivorian authorities stand next to an elephant tusks batch, guns and bags of pangolin scales seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents, in Abidjan
Ivorian authorities stand next to an elephant tusks batch, guns and bags of pangolin scales seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents, Abidjan, Ivory Coast January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

 

The tusks were valued at $450,000 (£315,367) and the pangolin scales $350,000 (£245,264) on the black market, authorities said.

The pangolin, a small, armadillo-like mammal, lives in forests in Ivory Coast and elsewhere in West Africa. Global trade in them is banned under a U.N. convention, but their scales are prized in some Asian countries for use in traditional medicines.

 

(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

 

 

An officer of the Transnational Organized Crime Unit stands next to an elephant tusks batch seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents, in Abidjan
An officer of the Transnational Organized Crime Unit stands next to an elephant tusks batch seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents in Abidjan, Ivory Coast January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago