Government launches drive against illegal ivory trade (Dubai)


Tareq Zeyad, The Gulf Today

Date Published

DUBAI: The Airports Security in Dubai succeeded in catching 20 consignments of precious ivory in possession of transit passengers.  

They have seized nearly 1,500 pieces, worth millions of dollars, throughout the past three years, revealed Brigadier Ali Ateeq Bin Lajah, Director of General Department for Airports Security at Dubai Police. 

In a press conference held in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW), GHQ of Dubai Police, Dubai Airports and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at Dubai Airports on Wednesday, the launch of an anti-illegal trade in ivory campaign was announced. This campaign will continue for 20 days.  

Lajah pointed out that among the seized ivory, some tusks measured more than 2 metres in length, and varied between rough and polished ivory. 

Some were shaped as ornaments, bracelets and a variety of sculptures and statues, and can cost up to $1,500 per kg in the black market, he added 

The ivory is transported from countries in Africa to those in Asia, which top the world’s list of ivory consumers.

Illegal ivory is handed over to the MoEW, which is the concerned entity dealing with such items in the country.

It is worth mentioning that the number of illegal items, such as endangered animals, species, leather, ivory and sandalwood, confiscated between 2011-2013 hit  2,300 across the world, while the UAE alone has seized 1,500 pieces of rough ivory. 

The campaign will contribute in preserving the ecological balance of the world by combating the illegal trade in ivory, which is internationally banned in accordance with CITES. 

According to reports and statistics issued by global bodies and organisation, the rate at which elephants are being killed is increasing. 

With nearly 35,000 elephants killed annually, it is estimated that one elephant is killed every 15 minutes. It is also indicated that the total number of elephants in the world ranges from 420,000 to 560,000 only, and this threatens the ecological balance of the world.