The Australian Customs service has said that its officers have impounded an illegal shipment of ivory that was shipped from Malawi, and was en-route to Malaysia. The Ivory was found during an inspection by Custom officials in Perth, where the ship had stopped before reaching its final destination.
The shipment contained approximately 110 Kilograms of ivory with an estimated market value of US$ 390,000 on the Asian black market.
While no arrests have yet to be made, under stringent Australian laws, the perpetrators could face a jail sentence of up to ten years, along with a fine of up to A$850,000 (US$ 650,000).
Speaking to reporters, the Australian Custom Boarder Protection Service regional commander Rod O’Donnell said: “The smuggling of endangered wildlife and wildlife parts is a very serious issue and we are dedicated to shutting down this horrible and cruel trade. This seizure shows Australia’s commitment to protecting the world’s endangered wildlife for future generations.”
In a report issued in 2014, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) said that over 20,000 elephants were poached in 2013.
The report also said that the increasing trend in poaching since the mid 2000s appeared to be peaking, but poaching still remained at “alarmingly high” levels.
The report was compiled using figures from the CITES Monitoring Illegal Killing in Elephants (MIKE) programme and the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS).
According to CITES, one notable change was that there was an increase in the number of large ivory shipments that had been seized in Africa, and for the first time, these exceeded those made in Asia. Three Countries accounted for 80% of the seizures made in Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The success in terms of ivory seizures can be chartered back to March 2013, when CITES identified eight countries, that included Malaysia, as being source, transit or destination countries, and requested the countries to develop and implement National Ivory Action Plans. Other Countries identified included Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, China, The Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
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