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Swiss seize biggest ever illegal ivory haul

Elephants are fair game for ivory poachers Keystone Archive

Swiss customs officials have seized the largest haul of illegal ivory in the country's history, including a crate with 20 elephant tusks.

This content was published on December 20, 2001 - 19:25

Federal customs officers found the 72 kilogramme shipment in Zurich on a September 23 Swissair flight from Nairobi, Kenya. The crate was destined for shipment to Beijing.

Customs spokesman, Roger Gauderon, said the cargo - which included four kilograms of ivory jewelery, two rhino horns and a leopard skin - was found in a crate marked "handicrafts".

News of the haul was revealed in the Swiss weekly newspaper "Weltwoche" and confirmed by Gauderon on Thursday.

Gauderon said the haul had been reported to United Nations anti-contraband authorities.

The catch follows a string of large ivory seizures across Europe in recent months, including a hidden shipment of 90 tusks at Brussels airport, which was on route to China from Africa. Fifteen Chinese doctors were later arrested in relation to the find.

swissinfo with agencies

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