Skip to main content
November 16, 2018

Ivory Coast seizes $800 million haul of elephant tusks, pangolin scales

Bags of pangolin scales are pictured next to an elephant tusks batch seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents, Abidjan, Ivory Coast January 25, 2018. /Reuters
Bags of pangolin scales are pictured next to an elephant tusks batch seized from traffickers by Ivorian wildlife agents, Abidjan, Ivory Coast January 25, 2018. /Reuters

Around 600 kg of elephant tusks and 600 kg of pangolin scales have been seized in Ivory Coast, ready to be sent to Vietnam and other Asian countries.

In an operation lasting several days, that aimed to dismantle a major trafficking network, six suspects were arrested.

"The ivory was ready for export to Vietnam. The ... pangolin scales were destined for Asia," Bonaventure Adomo, head of Ivory Coast's anti-smuggling unit, told reporters on Thursday.

The unit said two of the suspects came from Ivory Coast and one from Guinea, and that the ivory had come from as far afield as Gabon, Nigeria, Mozambique and Uganda.

The anti-trafficking group EAGLE, which worked with the authorities, said two of the suspects were from Vietnam and one from China.

The tusks were valued at $450,000 and the pangolin scales $350,000 on the black market, authorities said.

The pangolin, a small, armadillo-like mammal, lives in forests in Ivory Coast and elsewhere in West Africa. Global trade in them is banned under a UN convention, but their scales are prized in some Asian countries for use in traditional medicines. 

Click here for the latest political news

Poll of the day