Singapore Seizes Record Haul Of Ivory From Nearly 300 Elephants Worth £10.3m
It's the largest seizure of elephant ivory in Singapore to date and is believed to be worth S$17.6m ($12.9 million/£10.4m).
The shipment also contained 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales, estimated to be worth S$48.7m ($35.7m/£28.6m). The scales are believed to have come from 2,000 giant pangolins - which are thought to be the most widely trafficked mammals in the world. Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in countries like Vietnam and Japan, while its scales are often used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Following this seizure, Singapore has managed to seize a total of 37.5 tonnes of pangolin scales since April 2019.
On 21 July 2019, the country's National Parks Board had worked with Singapore Customs and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority to intercept a shipment of three containers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which were being shipped through Singapore to Vietnam.
A statement from the National Parks Board explained that the seizure came after a tip-off from China's customs department.
"The three containers were said to contain timber according to the bill of lading," it said.
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"Upon inspection, sacks containing pangolin scales and elephant ivory were found in one of the containers."
The statement also said the seized goods would be destroyed, continuing: "These latest seizures are testament to Singapore's commitment to the global effort to stem illegal trade in CITES-listed species, including their parts and derivatives. The seized pangolin scales and elephant ivory will be destroyed to prevent them from re-entering the market."
Under Singapore's Endangered Species Act, the maximum penalty for illegally importing, exporting and re-exporting wildlife is a fine of up to S$500,000 ($370,000/£295,000) and/or two years' imprisonment.
The same penalties apply to transit or transhipment of CITES-listed species of wildlife, including their parts and derivatives.
"Singapore has always been inadvertently implicated in the global ivory trade for two reasons: its global connectivity, as well as the presence of a small domestic market where pre-1990s ivory can be legally sold," Kim Stengert, chief communications officer for WWF Singapore, told Reuters.
"The consistency of these large-scale seizures is strong evidence of organised crime behind illegal wildlife trade coming through or into Singapore."
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Featured Image Credit: PA