In yet another horrific unusual case of the illegal wildlife trade, a massive haul consisting of hundreds of ivory figurines and mountains of lion and hippopotamus teeth were seized last week by authorities in the country of Senegal in West Africa.
Two men were arrested for allegedly trying to sell items, from what marked the largest ivory haul in the country’s history, at the Soumbedioune seaside market place.
As per Defense Web, police, the local water and forestry department, and non-governmental organization WARA collaborated on the recovery of a reported 780 carved items of elephant ivory weighing a total of 20 kilograms and the other animal remains from hippos, lions, and warthogs that weighed in at 23 kilograms.
Bones, teeth and claws of wild animals are believed to have mystical powers in West Africa but no real medicinal purpose. People are known to make potions and talismans out of them.
The animal parts are most notably shipped to China where they are used in traditional medicine, which is further contributing to the illegal trade, and dangerously close to destroying the elephant and rhino populations in Africa.
While there are some wild animals such as Lions remaining in the area, it is believed that the merchants bought most of the items in Nigeria before trafficking them to Senegal.