How elephant tusks “migrate” north in Africa
The route begins in a source country that has elephant populations (Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic); it ends in a North African nation (namely Egypt) where international tourism usually is flourishing.
Due to unrest in the area, tourism is down. But one group is not deterred: Chinese ivory traders checking in under the guise of tourists are flocking here.
When you look at this route, from the beginning to the end, you will see a series countries mired in unrest, which makes it difficult to combat the illegal ivory trade.
The governments of Sudan and Egypt are trying to combat ivory trafficking, but their efforts only go so far. IFAW Middle East North Africa office is trying to tackle this issue by capacity building in the Arab countries of North Africa.
Sudan, for instance, is a crucial crossroads because of its central location.
In February, in the Sudanese village of Inaibis, customs forces seized 850 kg of elephant ivory concealed in hibiscus tea burlap sacks heading to Egypt. An estimated 115 elephants were killed for such an amount of confiscated ivory.
The seized ivory was mostly raw – big and small pieces – except for a small amount carved into necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc.
After inspections, a notification was sent to the wildlife administration, which sent a legal advisor to follow up. The case (29/2014) was recorded under article (36, 37/2, 38, 39) of Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act 2006, and article (198/199) of the Customs Act. The two Sudanese citizens are to be sentenced to six months in prison and fined $3,519.58 each.
“It is one of the biggest ivory seizures in Sudan,” said Colonel Saifuldien Omar Sulaiman, head of Sudanese customs.
“The Sudanese combat forces spread on the country borders are able to protect the country against those smugglers,” added Colonel Abdulazeem M. Abdulah, head of the Sudanese customs smuggling combat forces.
IFAW is fostering cross-border cooperation and supporting intelligence-led enforcement, two things that are needed to bring these ivory traffickers to justice. It’s an uphill battle in light of the region’s stability, but one that must be waged nonetheless.
For more information on IFAW efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, visit our campaign page.