1 tonne ivory haul from Kenya seized in Vietnam

Vietnam customs officials seized nearly one tonne of ivory hidden in a timber shipment from Kenya.

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This is the third major illegal haul of precious tusks in less than a month.

The latest haul from Kenya was discovered at a port in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, where it was carefully hidden in a shipment of timber logs.

According to a report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 17 percent of illegal ivory seized worldwide in the past seven years was confiscated at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Ivory markets

Most illegal ivory is destined for Asia, in particular China, where it has soared in value as an investment vehicle and is coveted as “white gold”.

Limited availability of legal ivory in China purchased form the stockpile sale in southern Africa in 2008 has, in turn, boosted demand encouraging illegal ivory trade and the poaching of elephant to meet market needs.

A report from the conservation group Save The Elephants in July this year revealed that Vietnam had become one of the world’s biggest illegal ivory markets with 75 percent of its ivory buyers come from China.

In April, President Uhuru Kenyatta destroyed 105 tonnes of ivory; the single largest quantity to be destroyed in the world, in an effort aimed at sending a message globally that ivory is of no value.

The act was the most significant demonstration against poaching in the region and the largest burn of illegal wildlife products in history.

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