Chinese construction crews abound in Angola after the Asian country was the first to help Angola secure oil-backed loans following the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002.
“China remains the singlemost important contemporary player in the illicit trade in ivory and the pattern of seizures confirms the global reach of China’s illegal trade activity,” Traffic said in a report last year. Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa are the most common conduits for the Asia-bound trade, Traffic said.
Last month in Kenya, Satao, a 45-year-old elephant that may have been the world’s largest, and Mountain Bull, a symbol for the Mount Kenya region, were killed in separate attacks.
“Get rid of the middlemen and the kingpins who are the traders who know the contacts in Asia and Africa and it would be very easy to close these markets down because the legislation is there and it’s wide open,” Martin said. It’s public trading “because they want to attract the customers who are over 95 percent Chinese,” he said.