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Hong Kong seizes elephant tusks

HONG KONG — Customs officials in Hong Kong announced a third large seizure of smuggled ivory in less than three months Friday, saying they intercepted 779 elephant tusks weighing almost 1.5 tons in a container from Kenya.

The shipment was valued at around $1.4 million.

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In October, 1,209 tusks weighing 3.8 tons and worth about $3.5 million were seized from two containers shipped from Tanzania and Kenya. The following month, 1.6 tons were discovered in a container originating from Tanzania.

Large seizures were made in other countries too, notably in Port Klang and Malaysia.

Demand from an increasingly affluent Asia and improved international trade and transport links have caused the trade in ivory and other wildlife products to soar in recent years, pushing many species to the brink. Meanwhile, in many countries enforcement and penalties are weak and provide little deterrent to smugglers and poachers.

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