Singapore seizes ivory from practically 300 elephants in report haul

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore mentioned on Tuesday it had seized 8.Eight tonnes of elephant ivory, a report haul by authorities within the city-state, which conservation teams say is a transit level for the unlawful wildlife commerce.

The elephant ivory, estimated to be value $12.9 million, got here from practically 300 African elephants, and was heading to Vietnam by Singapore from Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The haul additionally contained the third main seizure of pangolin scales in Singapore this yr.

The pangolin, a scaly anteater, is among the most trafficked mammals on the earth. Its meat is taken into account a delicacy in Vietnam and China, and the scales are utilized in conventional Chinese language drugs, although the advantages are disputed by medical scientists.

“The seized pangolin scales and elephant ivory will probably be destroyed to forestall them from re-entering the market,” the Singapore Customs, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and the Nationwide Parks Board mentioned, including that the July 21 seizure got here after a tip-off from China’s customs division.

The ivory haul falls simply in need of 9.1 tonnes seizure in Vietnam in March, which non-government group Environmental Investigation Company mentioned was regarded as the most important ever globally.

There was a flurry of seizures, together with of rhino horns, in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam in current months.

“Singapore has all the time been inadvertently implicated within the world ivory commerce for 2 causes: its world connectivity, in addition to the presence of a small home market the place pre-1990s ivory will be legally bought,” mentioned Kim Stengert, chief communications officer for WWF Singapore. 

“The consistency of those large-scale seizures is powerful proof of organized crime behind unlawful wildlife commerce coming by or into Singapore.”

Singapore authorities mentioned the newest seizure additionally contained 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales, value about $35.7 million and equal to shut to 2,000 pangolins.

Singapore has seized a complete of 37.5 tonnes of pangolin scales since April, together with one raid which was the largest of its form worldwide in 5 years.

The town-state is a signatory to the Conference on Worldwide Commerce in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and says it’s dedicated to the worldwide effort to curb the unlawful wildlife commerce.

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