Around 600 kg of elephant tusks and 600 kg of pangolin scales have been seized in Ivory Coast, ready to be sent to Vietnam and other Asian countries, authorities said.
In an operation lasting several days to dismantle a major trafficking network, six suspects were arrested.
“The ivory was ready for export to Vietnam. The pangolin scales were destined for Asia,” Bonaventure Adomo, head of Ivory Coast’s anti-smuggling unit, told reporters.
The unit said two suspects were from Ivory Coast and one from Guinea, and the ivory had come from as far afield as Gabon, Nigeria, Mozambique and Uganda.
The anti-trafficking group EAGLE, working with the authorities, said two suspects were from Vietnam and one from China.
The tusks were valued at $450,000 (£315,367) and pangolin scales $350,000 (£245,264) on the black market, authorities said.
The pangolin, a small, armadillo-like mammal, lives in forests in Ivory Coast and elsewhere in West Africa. Global trade in them is banned under a UN convention, with their scales prized in some Asian countries for use in traditional medicines.