Thanks to some scrutiny of online auction sites and on the ground package inspections, an ivory trafficker and self-proclaimed 20-year antiques dealer from Ohio has been put out of business. Together, our federal wildlife inspectors and special agents connected the dots to stop a long-running operation that channeled illegal ivory sales through an online auction and shopping website.
Even though African elephants have been protected internationally for decades, more than 30,000 elephants are poached annually for the illegal ivory trade. In 25 years of enforcement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has seized more than six tons of illegal ivory. That tonnage is built upon cases, large and small over the years. This latest case stems from a two-year investigation that began when Chicago-based wildlife inspectors discovered a series of illegal shipments destined for China, all mislabeled and without the required permits.