9 tons of elephant ivory seized

9 tons of elephant ivory seized

Singapore has made its largest seizure of smuggled ivory, with nearly nine tons of smuggled tusks from some 300 elephants being transported, authorities say.

It is the illegal record detected load corresponding to about 300 animals.

The illegal cargo, discovered last Sunday in a container in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also included a huge cache of pangolin scales, the third such seizure in as many months.

Officials said both the ivory and pangolin scales were in a container declared as loaded with timber destined for Vietnam and passing through Singapore, a major transshipment hub for world trade.

During the inspection, authorities found 8.8 tons of elephant ivory, the national parks, customs and immigration board authority and checkpoints said in a joint statement.

The ivory tour was valued at $ 12.9 million (£ 10.4 million) and was Singapore's largest elephant ivory seizure to date, estimated to have come from 300 African elephants.

Also found in the container were 11.9 tons of pangolin scales with an estimated value of around $ 35.7 million. The scales are estimated to come from 2,000 of the mammals. Total pangolin spears since April is 37.5 tons, worth $ 112.5 million.

Singapore assured that the seized items will be destroyed.

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are critically endangered. They are the most trafficked mammals due to their meat, which is considered a delicacy, and their scales, which some believe have medicinal qualities.

Elephant ivory is coveted because it can be made into items such as combs, pendants, and other exotic jewelry.

The global trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been banned since 1989 after the population of African animals declined from millions in the mid-20th century to around 600,000 in the late 1980s.

Article in English)

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