Worst year in decades for elephants
Johannesburg - The wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC says the record number of large seizures of elephant tusks indicates it has been a disastrous year for elephants.
It says 2011 maybe the worst year for the world's largest land animals since ivory sales were banned in 1989.
The 2011 seizures represent at least 2 500 dead animals and indicate the growing role of organised crime from Asia. Most large seizures involve tusks being shipped from Africa to Asia.
TRAFFIC's elephant expert Tom Milliken said on Thursday the criminals seem to be winning this new war. Most large seizures do not lead to any arrests.
In the largest seizure, authorities in Malaysia on December 21 discovered hundreds of tusks worth $1.3m hidden in containers of handicrafts from Kenya.