On November 16th, authorities in Hong Kong seized $1.4 million worth of ivory from the tusks of about 150 elephants. The Tanzanian government confirmed several days later that the ivory had originated in their country. The 2,930 pounds of ivory was concealed in a container ship carrying sunflower seeds, destined for Dubai when it was intercepted in Hong Kong. The ship originated from the port of Dar es Salaam. Just a month previously, the largest ivory bust in Hong Kong’s history was traced back to Tanzania, though the government was quick to call that claim into question.
In response to the latest seizure, Natural Resources and Tourism minister Khamis Kagasheki vowed to crack down on ivory smugglers, stating, “ “I declare war on those involved in this illegal trade…I will fight them. I have a feeling that there are big shots behind this syndicate. We will not spare anybody.” He conveyed his certainty that customs officials were involved in the operation and said that authorities were making plans to investigate those connections.