Cairo International Airport’s Role in the Illegal Wildlife Trade

In previous years, the buyers of ivory in Egypt were from Spain, Italy and the United States. In 2013, the dynamics of the market shifted to Asia, where buyers from China now account for over 50 percent of the illegal ivory sales in Egypt.

According to criminal justice officials, Cairo is a major wildlife trafficking center due to its geographic location between Africa and Europe. Great apes are smuggled to Cairo and then sent to the Gulf Region, China and Europe in order to meet the  demand. In September 2012, authorities seized 17 endangered falcons at Cairo International Airport, and then seized a live cobra a man was carrying in his carry-on luggage the next month.

Source:  Kira Walker, “Egypt remains a hot spot for illegal chimp and ivory trade,” Egypt Independent, March 24, 2013.