Trafficked elephant tusks flooding Central Highlands

Vietnam is considered a hot spot for elephant tusk trafficking, and the activity remains uncontrolled, especially in the Central Highlands.

Part 1: White elephant tusks on black market

Buon Ma Thuot City in early March was bustling as locals were in a hurry preparing for the Central Highlands coffee festival, where elephants would also be welcomed.

Trafficked elephant tusks flooding Central Highlands

In the so-called land of elephants, travelers can easily access shops which sell products made of elephant tusks, including bracelets, rings, necklaces, ivory combs and pens.

A shop owner showed reporters an entire tusk block, weighing 2.2 kilograms after the reporters said they wanted to buy something ‘extremely special’. The tusk was valued at hundreds of million of dong.

In Buon Ma Thuot, Ve Chai is the name of a café on Y Ngong street. However, it is actually a shop specializing in wholesale fine art products, including elephant tusk-made ones.

The premises look old and deserted. Only when entering the shop do visitors realize so many cameras installed everywhere. The café is a den of wildlife product trafficking.

The house is large inside, with animal skulls and bones displayed everywhere. In the middle of the living room, a young man could be seen by reporters measuring the radius of every tusk put in a big white plastic bag. He was a wholesale buyer.

A glass wardrobe displays jewelry, including ones made of ivory tusks. Small products such as rings and bracelets are in baskets.

Buon Ma Thuot City in early March was bustling as locals were in a hurry preparing for the Central Highlands coffee festival, where elephants would also be welcomed.

 

 When reporters said they wanted some small products for gifts, V, the owner of the shop, showed numerous products. There were heavy and large bracelets that V said were very special, and favored by many people.

“We take 40 orders a day from online sales alone,” V told reporters.

At one point, V had to stop talking to take a call from a tour guide who said he would be bringing travelers to the shop.

Buon Don also sells elephant tusks

Buon Don, the famous tourist site mentioned in songs for children, is an elephant tusk sales point. Even the admission ticket sellers at the Buon Don Tourist Center sell tusks to travelers.

H, one of the center’s officers, told reporters that she had sold a 1.6 meter long tusk. Money had already been paid, but the tusk would be delivered several days later to escape the notice of policemen who were present everywhere during the coffee festival.

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