RIYADH, Oct. 18, Xinhua - Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it foiled an attempt to smuggle 588 pieces of elephant tusks from Africa to Asia, Saudi News Agency reported.

The 588 pieces of ivory, weighing about 490 kg, was found hidden within the luggage of a passenger at the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, the reports said, adding that the passenger came from an African countries and was travelling to an Asian country.

The reports didn't reveal the nationality of the passenger nor the exact names of the African and Asian countries the passenger traveled from and intended to fly to.

Over 20,000 elephants were poached across Africa in 2013, according to a report released in June by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Although the sharp upward trend in illegal elephant killing since 2000 is leveling off, poaching levels remain alarmingly high and continue to far exceed the population growth rates of natural elephant, resulting in a further decline in elephant population across Africa.