December 30, 2011 – Source: The Globe & Mail
This year was the worst on record of large seizures of elephant tusks since ivory sales were banned in 1989. Experts say as many as 3,000 elephants were killed by poachers. Tom Milliken, an elephant and rhino expert for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC has said 2011 has been horrible. Malaysian authorities seized hundreds of African elephant tusks worth $1.3 million which were being hidden in handicrafts. Most cases involve ivory being smuggled from Africa into Asia where they are used in traditional medicine even though scientists have proved that there is no medicinal value. The escalation is being driven by the Asian syndication within African societies. If current levels of poaching are sustained, some countries could lose their elephant population in the very near future. Alarming levels include Congo, northern Kenya, southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique. Most large scale ivory seizures fail to result in any arrest. Rhinos have also suffered: a record of 443 were killed this year in South Africa.