A new report released today from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals how Chinese-led criminal enterprises, along with corrupt Tanzanian officials are responsible for trafficking an alarming amount of ivory into China.
The underground network of Chinese gangs driving the ivory trade, and the corrupt Tanzanian officials who protect them, has been going on for years says the report.
As a result 10,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in 2013 alone, equivalent to 30 a day. In Tanzania’s world famous Selous Reserve the elephant population had dropped 67 percent in just four years.
The report even implicates Chinese navy personnel and top officials.
“In December 2013, an official visit by a Chinese naval task force to Tanzania’s capital city port of Dar es Salaam spurred a major surge in business for ivory traders, with one dealer boasting of making US$50,000 from sales to naval personnel,” said EIA in a statement about the report.
“In addition, a Chinese national was caught trying to enter the port with 81 illegal tusks intended for two mid-ranking Chinese naval officers”.
Earlier that year, in March, EIA said that visit of a large official delegation accompanying Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tanzania created a boom in illegal ivory sales and caused local prices to double.
The report states that as early as 2006 poachers reported that some of their biggest buyers of ivory were Chinese Embassy staff.