Archive for ‘Elephant’

16/02/2019

Hong Kong seizes $1m worth of rhino horn at airport

Photo released by Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department of seized rhino hornsImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionThe haul accounts for 20% of Hong Kong’s rhino horn seizures in five years

Airport authorities in Hong Kong have arrested two men smuggling a record number of suspected rhino horns worth $1m (£780,000) on Thursday.

Some 24 severed rhino horns weighing 40kg (88lb) were found in the bust – Hong Kong’s largest ever seizure.

The alleged smugglers were in transit to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam from Johannesburg in South Africa.

Customs officials said the illegal haul was brazenly transported through the terminal in two cardboard boxes.

The airport incident comes just two weeks after Hong Kong seized a record eight tonnes of pangolin scales and more than 1,000 elephant tusks.

A local environmental group said Thursday’s rhino horns accounted for 20% of the total amount of Hong Kong’s rhino horn seizures since 2013.

Hong Kong is a known transit point for the illegal wildlife trade, and conservation groups have urged the authorities to crack down on smuggling.

Rhino horn is used in China and Vietnam in some traditional medicine, despite containing little more than keratin, the same protein that makes human hair and fingernails.

The demand for rhino horn has fuelled wildlife poaching, particularly in South Africa, which is home to about 80% of the world rhino population.

Conservation groups say the number of rhinos killed has been gradually decreasing since 2014, but more than 1,000 rhinos continue to be killed in South Africa every year.

Source: The BBC

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10/02/2019

‘Oldest known elephant in captivity’ dies at 88 in India

Dakshayani, an elephant that died in February 2019 aged 88Image copyrightSTR/AFP/GETTY
Image captionDakshayani, pictured here in 2016, lived at the Chengalloor Mahadeva Temple in southern Kerala state

Dakshayani, thought to be the world’s oldest elephant in captivity, has died at the age of 88 in India.

Given the title Gaja Muthassi or elephant granny, Dakshayani took part in temple rituals and processions at the Chengalloor Mahadeva Temple in the southern state of Kerala.

But her vet said the elephant stopped taking food and died on Tuesday.

Keepers started feeding her pineapples and carrots in recent years after she began to have trouble moving around.

She had not taken part in any public event for several years.

The Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the temple where she lived, says she was the oldest elephant in captivity and estimated her age at 88.

However, the current Guinness World Record holder for oldest elephant in captivity is Lin Wang.

The Asian elephant died at a zoo in Taiwan in 2003 aged 86, and served with the British Army in World War Two.

Another elephant, Indira, died in India’s Karnataka state in 2017 and was reportedly aged “between 85 and 90”.

Dakshayani, an elephant that died in February 2019 aged 88Image copyrightSTR/AFP/GETTY
Image captionThe elephant took part in temple rituals and processions

India has more than 2,400 elephants in captivity.

The former Travancore Devaswom Board president told AFP news agency that Dakshayani was well-treated.

“Due to various practical constraints, we could not let her loose, but instead ensured that she had more than enough space to move around,” he said.

However conservationists say many elephants suffer in poor conditions.

UK-based group Action for Elephants says around 800 elephants are held in Indian temples, particularly in Kerala state, and live in “generally abysmal living conditions”.

Media captionIndia’s first elephant hospital is run by the charity Wildlife SOS

Source: The BBC

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