Worst year in decade for elephants

29 December 2011 - 14:58 By Sapa-AP

The wildlife trade monitoring network, Traffic, says the record number of large seizures of elephant tusks indicates it has been a disastrous year for elephants.

It says 2011 maybe the worst year for the world's largest land animals since ivory sales were banned in 1989.

The 2011 seizures represent at least 2 500 dead animals and indicate the growing role of organized crime from Asia. Most large seizures involve tusks being shipped from Africa to Asia.

Traffic’s elephant expert Tom Milliken said Thursday the criminals seem to be winning this new war. Most large seizures do not lead to any arrests.

In the largest seizure, authorities in Malaysia on December 21 discovered hundreds of tusks worth $1.3 million hidden in containers of handicrafts from Kenya.