Huge ivory haul slips through Dar

Experts warn that the African elephant could be wiped out in 20 years. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Swiss customs officials say over 260 kilograms of ivory were seized in eight suitcases dispatched from Dar es Salaam bound for Beijing.  Photo: Daniel Hayduk

A huge ivory haul dispatched from Dar es Salaam was seized in Zurich, Switzerland.

Swiss Customs announced the seizure of  262 kilograms (578 pounds) of ivory on Tuesday (August 4.)

According to the Associated Press, the ivory was packed in eight suitcases and has a black market street value of over $400,000 USD (850 million TSH.)

The tusks had been cut to fit into each suitcase which were destined for Beijing.

Also in the suitcases was a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of lion fangs and claws.

Swiss Customs officials say the three Chinese men implicated in the haul, discovered by customs on July 6, may face hefty fines.

Recently, the number of elephants in Tanzania has fallen to 43,330, down from over 315,000 in the late 1970s.

Tanzania has arrested 1,082 suspected poachers in an ‘intensified war on poaching,’ says Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Lazaro Nyalandu.

Read more: Elephant ‘slaughterhouse’ numbers fall

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