A search of a shipping container supposedly carrying timber from Cameroon netted Hong Kong customs officials 3.9 tonnes of illegal ivory on May 9, 2006. The largest seizure in Hong Kong in recent years, animal rightists are saying that it is part of a global trend towards increased ivory smuggling.
Since an international ban was placed on ivory in 1989 by Cites (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna), the world’s largest seizure of elephant ivory took place in Singapore in 2002 when 6.5 tonnes of ivory were impounded.
Statistics kept by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW, record the seizure of 176kg of ivory in Kenya in January 2005, 450kg in Ethiopia in April 2005, 250kg in Congo in August 2005, 870kg in Singapore in 2004 and 3.3 tonnes of ivory in Spain in July 2004. Other elephant products such as legs, tails, elephant hide and hairs have also been confiscated in various international locations.