Chinese authorities announced on Monday the seizure of nearly 1800 pounds of illegally-smuggled ivory along with rhino horns and bear paws worth about $3.8 million (24 million yuan).
16 people suspected of having been part of the smuggling ring have been arrested.
According to CCTV.com, China is the world’s largest market for illegal ivory.
Police say the arrests stem from a crackdown ranging from May to August that was part of the biggest anti animal-trafficking campaign in China. The seizure was also the largest of its kind in China.
Police say the goods were illegally smuggled from Japan and made it to mainland China via Hong Kong.
However, not all ivory sold in China is done through illegal means. Traffic, an anti animal-trafficking group based in Britain, says ivory is often sold in Japan where people legally own ivory products manufactured during the 1980s and earlier.
China has spent the last few years leading a major crackdown on the sale of ivory.
In February, the country placed a one-year ban on legal ivory imports. In September while on a visit to the United States, President Xi Jinping pledged to halt commercial ivory sales in China.
Animal rights activists fear the sale of ivory, fueled in China by a growing demand from its middle class, is driving Africa’s elephant populations to extinction.
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