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Czech customs seize ivory

Czech customs seize ivory

PRAGUE: Czech customs officials arrested a man smuggling 33 kg of elephant tusks at the Prague International Airport. The smuggler was heading to Asia where the tusks could be sold for up to $ 2500 per kg in the black market.

The elephant tusks were revealed during the regular X-ray check of the luggage, a customs official said. The tusks were cut into pieces and the customs authorities found 18 pieces in several suitcases. The smuggler was a young man from Vietnam who was flying to his homeland via Russia.

The tusks were probably cut from at least three African elephants that are listed among the most strictly protected species. A customs official said, “The price of ivory is high. A poacher usually gets only $80 to $100 per kg of ivory in Africa, but the final price in the black market in Asia can be as high as $2500 per kg. More and more illegal ivory has been recently appearing in the Czech Republic. It is resold here or exported to Asia.”

A month ago, the customs officers revealed two smuggled horns of the strictly protected white rhinoceros at Prague’s Airport. The horns’ worth was estimated at $360,000 in the black market. That consignment was heading to Vietnam, too.