Ivory trafficking exceeds drugs

2009-06-20 07:44

Naivasha - Trafficking in ivory and game meat has become one of the most lucrative illegal trades in Africa due to rising demand in Asia, experts said on Friday.

Karl Karugaba, the head of a panel from the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, said: “In terms of monetary value, ivory trade has surpassed drugs and is now one of the most thriving illegal trade on the continent”.

He told reporters that the large amount of contraband nabbed at various African airports pointed to rising demand, but did not cite any figures.

He spoke at the end of a conference of monitors drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Lusaka Agreement, which came into force in 1992, is designed to help African law enforcement agencies tackle wildlife smuggling.

A global wildlife trade monitoring group, TRAFFIC, on Friday said Thailand was Asia's largest illegal elephant ivory market and shows few signs of addressing the problem.