Live updates

Border official on 'heartbreaking' seizures of new ivory

Grant Miller, senior officer on the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITIES) Border Force team at Heathrow has said the market in endangered animal items being trafficked into the country is evolving.

He said there is a significant increase in items in such as ivory from west and central Africa being trafficked through London's "logistic hub".

"We pick up between 5-15 kilo of ivory at time. The heartbreaking thing is it quite clearly new ivory from recently slaughted elephants."

Read: Record number of smuggled animal products seized by border officials

Read:Rangers turn to shock tactics in bid to save the rhino

Cyanide poisoned elephants death toll 'reaches 91'

Poisoned elephant carcass at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe Credit: ITV News

The number of poisoned dead Elephants at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe has risen to 91, wildlife officials have told the Associated Press.

The elephants were poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hacked off their tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. ITV News correspondent Martin Geissler reported on the devastating attack last week.

Police and rangers have recovered ivory tusks, cyanide and wire snares after a sweep through villages close to the park. Credit: ITV News

Officials say cyanide used in gold mining was spread by poachers over the flat "salt pans". They also say lions, hyenas and vultures have died from feeding on contaminated carcasses or drinking nearby.

Nine suspected poachers have been arrested this month after the biggest, most brutal poaching spree on record. Three men were sentenced to up to 16 years in jail.

Advertisement

Criminal gangs target ivory in museums

The damaged elephant skeleton at the Paris Natural History museums
The damaged elephant skeleton at the Paris Natural History museums Credit: EBU

The attack on an elephant skeleton at the Paris Natural History Musuem is the latest in a series of thefts from people looking to cash in on the lucrative trade in ivory and rhino horn.

Rhino horn is worth £65,000 a kilo, which makes it more valuable than cocaine, heroin and gold.

In 2011 rare black rhino horn was stolen from Druzilla's Wild Life Park in Sussex.

In 2012 staff at the Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park in Birchington had to replace valuable rhino horns with fakes after they were hacked off the exhibits by the thieves.

Volunteers are currently helping to man 24 hour patrols of rhino enclosures at Port Lympne and Howletts Wildlife Parks after police received information that criminal gangs were hoping to poach the creatures.

Man 'tries to steal tusk' from Paris museum

The tusk on the historic skeleton was badly damaged in the attack
The tusk on the historic skeleton was badly damaged in the attack Credit: EBU

A man is being questioned by police after he allegedly hacked the tusk off an historic elephant skeleton in the Natural History Museum in Paris.

The museum said that staff were initially alerted to the theft after they heard a chainsaw being used in one of the galleries early on Saturday morning.

Staff were alerted when they heard the noise of a chainsaw in one of their galleries
Staff were alerted when they heard the noise of a chainsaw in one of their galleries Credit: EBU

Police arrested a man near the museum after he was spotted carrying the three-kilogram (seven-pound) tusk. A chainsaw was recovered from inside the gallery.

The popular skeleton was given to King Louis XIV of France in 1668 but the tusks were added at a later date.

The museum's guide book shows the completed skeleton.
The museum's guide book shows the completed skeleton. Credit: EBU

Advertisement

Thailand's Prime Minister vows to ban its ivory trade

Thailand is playing host to an international summit on the protection of endangered species and its prime minister has vowed to work towards banning her country's trade in ivory.

Last year, as many as 32,000 elephants were slaughtered worldwide for their tusks and 668 rhinos were poached for their horns in South Africa.

The biggest market for smuggled ivory is China, which is also facing increased calls for government-run market in ivory to end.

ITV News' Angus Walker reports.

Read: The perfect poacher's storm threatening endangered species

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories