The scale of the industrial slaughter of elephants for their tusks was laid bare after officals seized 750 ivory tusks hidden in treetrunks worth £6.5million.
A scanner funded by Britain is being used to scan shipping containers being carried by road through Africa.
Around 325 elephants would have been slaughtered to provide the ivory found in the containers.
The scale of the industrial slaughter of elephants for their tusks was laid bare after officals seized 750 ivory tusks hidden in treetrunks worth £6.5million. Customs officers display some of the seized elephant tusks to the media, in Kampala
As well as ivory, scales removed from endangered pangolins were also found on the shipment.
Two Vietnamese men who were transporting the illegal goods were arrested.
The scanners were provided by the Department for International Development to the Ugandan Revenue Authority.
The illegal wildlife goods were seized in a town called Elegu, in northern Uganda, on the border with South Sudan on January 31.
Ugandan customs officers suspect the goods originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and were then smuggled via South Sudan into Uganda.
The scanners are called non-intrusive cargo inspection scanners, which act like x-rays and mean that customs officers don’t physically have to open up the lorries to search inside.
They can scan through the metal cargo containers.
A scanner funded by Britain is being used to scan shipping containers being carried by road through Africa. Around 325 elephants would have been slaughtered to provide the ivory found in the containers
As well as ivory, scales removed from endangered pangolins were also found on the shipment. Two Vietnamese men who were transporting the illegal goods were arrested
Aside from tackling illegal wildlife goods the scanners can also help stop other illicit items from crossing borders, such as drugs and illegal immigrants.
They can scan up to 200 trucks per hour meaning each scan takes about three minutes per truck.
Despite a ban on trade in ivory, poaching of African elephants is still rampant.
China is the biggest market for the tusks.
There are an estimated 415,000 elephants remaining on the continent, compared with as many as five million in the early part of the 20th century, according to the WWF.
WHAT IS THE GLOBAL COALITION TO END WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING ONLINE?
The world’s most endangered species are under threat from an unexpected source, the Internet, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Advances in technology and connectivity across the world, combined with rising buying power and demand for illegal wildlife products, have increased the ease of exchange from poacher to consumer.
As a result, an unregulated online market allows criminals to sell illegally obtained wildlife products across the globe.
Purchasing elephant ivory, tiger cubs, and pangolin scales is as easy as click, pay, ship, they say.
To counter this, the world’s biggest e-commerce, technology, and social media companies have joined forces to shut down online marketplaces for wildlife traffickers.
The Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online brings together companies from across the world in partnership with wildlife experts at WWF and Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, as well as the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
This industry-wide approach aims to reduce wildlife trafficking online by 80 per cent by 2020.
WWF and partners are collaborating with tech companies across continents, including eBay, Google, Microsoft and Tencent, to unite the industry and maximise impact for reducing wildlife trafficking online.