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Tanzanian Elephants Endangered Due to Chinese Ivory Smuggling: Watchdog

© East News / FLPA/Fabio PupinAfrican Elephants
African Elephants - Sputnik International
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Ivory of Tanzanian elephants killed by poachers appears in the markets of China, it leads to extinction of elephants in Tanzania.

MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) – The ivory market in China, mostly controlled by criminals, is accelerating the extinction of Tanzanian elephants, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) situational report for 2006-2014 said Thursday.

"As EIA's investigations in Tanzania show, Chinese-led criminal syndicates are making huge profits from ivory trafficking and, in the process, undermining the rule of law and fostering corruption," the report said.

"The report shows that without a zero-tolerance approach the future of Tanzania's elephants and its tourism industry is precarious. All trade in ivory should be resolutely banned, especially in China," EIA Executive Director Mary Rice said in the introduction.

Chinese criminal rings actively cooperate with corrupt Tanzanian officials to traffic huge amounts of ivory. Smuggling flourishes due to collusion between corrupt officials and criminal enterprises. According to the report, from 2009 to 2014 40.7 tonnes (44.9 tons) of Tanzanian ivory was intercepted outside the country.

In Fujan Province, China, "the raw ivory is now being offered at up to $ 3,000 per kilo at auction," the report states.

It is illegal to import any item containing African-elephant ivory for commercial purposes. According to the EIA, Tanzania has been the largest source of illegal ivory in the world since 1976 while China is the largest smuggled-ivory importer. Tanzania's world famous Selous Reserve has faced a reduction in its elephant population by 67 percent in from 2010 to 2014 with the number of elephants dropping from 38,975 to 13,084, the report said.

Based on EIA data, Tanzania has lost more elephants during this period than any other country, 10,000 animals in 2013 alone, because of poaching.

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