Swiss customs seize 578 pounds of ivory taken from up to 50 elephants

Swiss-ivory

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BERLIN — Customs officials at Zurich airport have seized 262 kilograms (578 pounds) of ivory that three Chinese men had dispatched from Tanzania, contraband that may have come from up to 50 elephants, Swiss authorities said Tuesday.

The ivory was found during a security check on July 6 and packed in eight suitcases, Switzerland’s customs authority said. It put the estimated black market value at about 400,000 francs ($413,000).

The elephant tusks had been sawed into 172 pieces to fit into the luggage, which was being transported from Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, to Beijing via Zurich. The head of the customs operation at the airport, Heinz Widmer, said officials estimate that the pieces came from 40 to 50 elephants. Read more…

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