The insatiable appetite of Chinese for consuming endangered species has been previously discussed on this blog as fueling the black market for such products. This week, however, the scope of such crimes was on full display after police in Tanzania arrested three Chinese living in Dar es Salaam in a house filled with a reported 1.9 tons of blood ivory. At least 200 elephants were slaughtered for the ivory. Seven tons in all have been seized in recent weeks.
The Chinese submerged the ivory pieces in a mixture of snail shells mixed with some strong smelling potion containing garlic to mask the telltale smell of ivory cut from the heads of dead elephants. The Tanzanian police are seeking others in the Chinese network.
Chinese continue to represent the largest group of arrested foreigners in this disgusting market. Various countries have seized such shipments heading to China to feed the growing market for endangered species parts. Despite widespread knowledge that they are wiping out whole species, Chinese continue to demand the products. Of course, the Chinese themselves are living in industrial nightmares with record levels of air pollution and cancer rates from the lack of environmental protections. However, they are exporting these anti-environmental practices to other countries in black market operations and the destruction of rain forests. It is a shameful legacy that brave environmentalists in China have tried to end. Yet, they have often faced arrest and beatings at the hands of the government.
It is not clear how long it will take for the Chinese to embrace environmental values as a nation but it is unlikely that many of these species will last to see that day.