Vietnam Seizes Ivory Hidden in Timber Shipment From Nigeria

Heavily armed guards stand next to a pile of illegally trafficked elephant tusks and hundreds of finished ivory products as they prepare to destroy them at the Palais des Congres, in Yaounde, Cameroon, Tuesday, April 19, 2016 Photo: Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

HANOI — Vietnamese authorities have seized 446 kilograms (981 pounds) of ivory illegally shipped from Nigeria after finding 3.5 tons at the same port last month, an official said Wednesday.

The ivory seized Tuesday had been hidden in timber in a container at Cat Lai port in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City, Customs official Le Dinh Loi said.

Authorities seized 3.5 tons of ivory in three shipments smuggled from Africa at the same port last month.

State media say 1 ton of ivory costs USD $1.8 million on the black market.

Vietnam will host an international conference on illegal wildlife trade in Hanoi later this month that is expected to be attended by Britain’s Prince William, a vocal critic of the trade.

Elephant ivory is used as jewelry and home decorations in Vietnam, which bans hunting of its own dwindling population of elephants.