Hong Kong Seizes Massive Shipment of Ivory, Rhino Horns, Leopard Skins

1,120 elephant tusks, 13 rhino horns, and five leopard skins were seized in Hong Kong on August 7, 2013. (Screenshot via thv11.com)
1,120 elephant tusks, 13 rhino horns, and five leopard skins were seized in Hong Kong on August 7, 2013. (Screenshot via thv11.com)

Customs officials in Hong Kong have seized 1,120 elephant tusks, 13 rhino horns, and five leopard skins in one shipment which originated from Nigeria, with a mid-July stop in Shanghai.

In a press release, Vincent Wong, head of Hong Kong customs ports control, said that the two-ton illegal haul is “quite unique, because in one single case, we seized ivory tusks, rhino horns and leopard skins, five leopard skins as a whole”. He added that the August 7 seizure is the port’s third ivory incident in 2013.

From 2010 up till now, every year we detect three to four cases of smuggling ivory tusks. In 2013, this year, this is the third case. And so, we do not have intelligence or information showing that there is a rising trend of smuggling ivory tusks.

Wong explained that it is not possible to check every shipment because “there are thousands or tens of thousands of boxes moving in and out” of Hong Kong’s port.

1,120 elephant tusks, 13 rhino horns, and five leopard skins were seized in Hong Kong on August 7, 2013. (Screenshot via
The 2008 ivory stockpile sale was touted by its proponents as a measure to stop the flow of illegal ivory by releasing legal ivory into the market, but has had the opposite effect. (Screenshot via thv11.com)

Since the CITES-approved one-off sale of stockpiled ivory in 2008 by Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, an estimated 25,000 African elephants are massacred annually to feed the re-ignited appetite for ivory, particularly in China. The stockpile sale was touted by its proponents as a measure to stop the flow of illegal ivory by releasing legal ivory into the market, but has (unsurprisingly) had the opposite effect.


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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.