$2.5 shipment of illegal ivory from Africa seized
THE authorities have intercepted a shipment of about 1.8 tonnes of raw ivory tusks in what is the largest seizure since 2002.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Singapore Customs conducted a joint inspection of the shipment from Africa, which was disguised as waste paper, on Jan 23.
Some 1,099 tusks were found packed in 65 gunny sacks.
The estimated $2.5 million worth of illegal cargo is higher than the $1.5 million value of the shipment confiscated in 2002.
The latter shipment weighed 6 tonnes and consisted of 532 raw ivory tusks and 40,810 ivory pieces packed in six wooden crates.
A local shipper was prosecuted and fined $5,000 for preparing the documents that facilitated the shipment then. The items were returned to Africa for further investigations.
From 2002 to 2012, about 41,400 pieces of elephant ivory products such as tusks and carvings were seized by the AVA.
International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which Singapore is a signatory to.
All Asian and most African elephants are classified as endangered species under the convention. The maximum penalty for illegal trade in ivory is a fine of $50,000 per scheduled specimen and/or imprisonment of up to two years.
The AVA and Singapore Customs said they will continue to collaborate with each other and other enforcement agencies elsewhere to curb wildlife trafficking.
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