The latest evidence that the international elephant poaching trade hasn't gotten any better was revealed late Tuesday, hiding underneath a container of precious stones on its way from Tanzania to Indonesia. "Custom officials seized 638 pieces of illegal elephant ivory estimated to be worth $1.2 million at Kenya's main port," reports the AP. This discovery comes on the heels of "the biggest single mass shooting" of elephants on record in Kenya on January 5, when a gang of people killed a family of 12 elephants and hacked off their tusks. And almost two weeks ago, in what's a very young new year, officials in Hong Kong seized 779 elephant tusks, which National Geographic's Mary Rice reports, is "at least 600 dead elephants."
The string of discoveries is a sign that the growing elephant poaching problems in 2012 shows no intent of fading in 2013. Back in September, there was a startling report on the militarization of elephant poaching, wherein government-recognized military groups like the Ugandan military and the Congolese Army, were joining poachers and actually using military helicopters to help them in their illegal trade. And as long as there's a demand for tusks, the killing won't stop. "Elephant poaching is on the rise across Africa because of increased demand from Asia — particularly from China — for ivory trinkets. Poor African villagers can earn vast sums for killing an elephant and taking its tusks," reports the AP.