How can Cambodia take on the mammoth task of fighting its illegal ivory trade?

This month’s discovery of trinkets carved from the tusks of extinct woolly mammoths is just the latest evidence that Cambodia is playing a growing role in the international illegal ivory trade.

In the first days of 2019, researchers at the Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS) made a startling discovery: an ivory trinket taken from a market in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh was made from the tusk of an animal that has been extinct for more than 10,000 years. It was the first time that woolly mammoth ivory had been found in the Kingdom. It may not be the last.

Alex Ball, programme manager at wildlife conservation charity WildGenes’ laboratory at Edinburgh Zoo, said his team had been shocked to find mammoth tusk ivory on sale in Cambodia. WildGenes is leading the DNA analysis of ivory samples from Cambodia’s market in partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI).

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