Uganda seizes massive ivory, pangolin haul
UGANDAN wildlife officers have seized a huge haul of elephant ivory and pangolin scales, representing the deaths of hundreds of endangered animals, police said Sunday.
Over 700 kilogrammes of ivory – worth almost $1.5 million on the black market – and over two tonnes of pangolin skins were discovered in boxes at Uganda’s main airport Entebbe, which had been due to be exported to Amsterdam.
The scaly-skinned pangolin is used in traditional medicine in China, with exploding demand in Asia making it one of the most trafficked mammals in the world.
Uganda Wildlife Authority spokesman, Jossy Muhangi, told AFP that the haul was found in three boxes.
“One box had 76 tusks, another had 61 pieces of ivory mixed with pangolin scales, and the third box had purely pangolin scales,” he said.
The tusks, which appeared to be have been recently hacked from elephants, were cut into several pieces, and it was not clear how many animals had been killed for them.
“The tusks were still raw as they were cut from the elephants, but were cut into pieces by smugglers for easy shipment,” Muhangi added.
Raw ivory sells for around $2,100 a kilo at markets in China, according to Save the Elephants.
The boxes had been labelled as communications equipment that needed repairs in Amsterdam, and had been cleared for export by Custom officials.