Officials in Portugal are cracking down on the illegal trade of wildlife parts online, confiscating items including a hippopotamus tooth and a baby elephant’s leg in recent months.
The Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) says it has seized items from five locations across the country after monitoring online adverts to find protected species being traded without legal documentation.
But how much is the illicit trade actually worth?
The wildlife parts seized by the ASAE in recent months had a collective price tag of more than €11,000.
The group gave Euronews a breakdown of the money sought in the illegal sales.
One ivory tusk (2.3kg) = €1,500
One hippopotamus tooth (1kg) = €125
One baby elephant leg = €850
Three ivory tusks (1kg/4 kg) = €2,850
One ivory tusk (13kg) = €6,000
A ‘black figure’
The ASAE told Euronews the online market is the “main point” for the illegal trade of animal parts in Portugal.
The situation is mirrored elsewhere in Europe.
A report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) earlier this year found that thousands of animals threatened with extinction were being offered for sale across the region.
In total, 11,772 items — either live animals or their body parts — were found by the group over a six-week period in the UK, France, Germany and Russia.
To tackle the issue in Portugal, the ASAE said it “constantly” monitors sites where animal products are regularly advertised.
However, it said social media remains a “black figure” in the trade that is more difficult to track.
As well as monitoring online sales, the ASAE says it hopes to educate people about the illegality of trading protected parts online without authorisation.