SMUGGLERS involved in illegal wildlife trafficking could be using Spain as a new route to avoid detection, according to a wildlife trade-monitoring network.

It follows the seizure of a shipment of elephant ivory, the largest ever discovered, intercepted by authorities in Malaysia having come from Spain.

The shipping containers, carrying 1,500 tusks weighing a reported 24 tonnes, travelled via Spain en route to China from Togo.

“This latest seizure indicates a new trade route — West Africa to Spain, and then on to Asia via the Suez Canal,” said Tom Milliken, an expert on ivory at the wildlife trade-monitoring network Traffic.

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