By Cristina Hodgson, Euro Weekly
The Guardia Civil has intervened in Sabadell – Spain, two elephant tusks that were for sale in several digital portals for buying and selling second-hand products over the Internet.
The tusks were offered for 5,000 euros and were in perfect condition and decorated with seals engraved on metal rings and embedded in a wooden base that serves as a decorative and support element.
According to a statement issued by the Guardia Civil, the owner did not have any documentation to prove his legal ownership or the origin of the tusks, and only stated that he had taken them from Mallorca two years ago.
The initial confiscation took place in December when agents of The Spanish Service on Nature Protection (SEPRONA) saw several ads on Internet portals for sale of the items from a private dealer who offered the tusks.
Under The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the elephant is categorised as an animal with a high level of protection, prompting the Civil Guard to initiate an investigation to determine the origin of the tusks.
The owner faces a crime against the fauna for possession and trade of endangered species
The ivory trade is the commercial, often illegal trade in the ivory tusks of the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, and most commonly, African and Asian elephants.
Ivory has been traded for hundreds of years by people in Africa and Asia, resulting in restrictions and bans. Ivory was formerly used to make piano keys and other decorative items because of the white colour it presents when processed but the piano industry abandoned ivory as a key covering material in the 1980s.
International trade in Asian elephant ivory was banned in 1975 when the Asian elephant was placed on Appendix One of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). By the late 1980s, it was believed that only around 50,000 remained in the wild.