SINGAPORE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS SEIZE 1.8 TONS OF BLOOD IVORY
Blood ivory worth over 2.5 million US Dollars was confiscated yesterday in Singapore, when a container load from a yet to be named African country, supposedly comprising waste paper, was found to be actually elephant tusks and ivory pieces. Nearly 1.100 cut pieces of tusks were reportedly seized which had been concealed in the container, wrapped into sacks and hidden under other cargo. Officials according to one source were getting suspicious when the weights did not add up and then decided to open the container, making the find and effecting legal seizure while other information talks of a tip off leading to the discovery.
Information at hand also speaks of local authorities pursing officials of the shipping and forwarding company as well as being in touch with authorities in the country of origin to arrest, if possible, the owners of the blood cargo.
The report also omitted naming the final destination of the contraband shipment, but is suspected to be the mainland of China, which has become globally notorious for not doing anywhere near enough to curb illegal imports and crack down on carving shops where the blood ivory is turned into intricate figures and art pieces.
The CITES conference in a few weeks in Bangkok is expected to be one of the most hotly debated meetings over the massive scale of poaching in Africa, of elephant and rhinos, to feed the greed among the nouvelle riche in China to possess carved ivory, or in the case of rhino horns afford the outrageous prized for pulverized horn, which medicinal value is actual nil. It is generally expected that demands will be voiced to withdraw China’s ivory trading status as one measure to reduce all shipments of ivory. That however is well understood will not curb smuggling, as was the case just now. Inadequate wildlife laws in Africa too are often named as a contributory factor, as fines are generally ridiculously low and prison terms often measured in weeks and best months. Watch this space for upcoming reports from the CITES conference and what transpires to crack down on poaching and the illicit trade of ivory and rhino horn.