Half a tonne of ivory seized in Austria

AFP , Wednesday 16 Nov 2016

Austrian authorities said Wednesday they had seized more than 560 kilos (1,235 pounds) of ivory, a haul they described as a national record and one of the biggest in Europe.

Police recovered the 90 elephant tusks in early November in two Vienna apartments of an Austrian man who was caught trying to buy three tusks "on the open street," the interior ministry said.

Ivory can be sold on the black market in Austria for around $1,000 (930 euros) per kilo, police said. It was unclear whether the latest haul was meant for further export or to be sold in Austria.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the ivory trade in 1989 because of dwindling numbers of elephants.

But some countries allow the resale of ivory bought before the ban, and CITES-approved government stockpiles can also be sold with certification.

In April Spanish police seized 74 African elephant tusks weighing 774 kilos, with a street value of 200,000 euros ($223,000), in Colmenar de Oreja southwest of Madrid.

Short link: