Illegal ivory business – level 3
Scientists performed DNA tests on over 4,000 elephant tusks from seized shipments, and the DNA showed family connections among African elephants.
Officials can use the connections to track and identify poaching areas and ivory trafficking networks at the center of an illegal trade that still continues to harm the population of Earth’s largest land animal. According to Samuel Wasse, a biologist at the University of Washington, once the ivory leaves Africa, it becomes very difficult to follow. The largest amount of ivory is now being smuggled out of Uganda through the Mombasa seaport. However, smugglers also use ports in Kenya and Nigeria.
Every year, people who poach kill at least 20,000 African elephants for their tusks. People can stop this illegal activity if they identify the middlemen in the whole network of poaching. If middlemen get arrested, nobody can buy the tusks from the poachers.
Difficult words: poach (to illegally hunt or catch animals), ivory (the hard white thing like a bone or tooth that makes the tusks of elephants), middlemen (the people who help buy things or sell things for other people).
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