The Forestry Bureau and the National Police Agency have identified dealers allegedly selling illegal ivory products near Xingtian Temple (???) in Taipei, the bureau said yesterday.
Wildlife products, including ivory, comprise the third-largest category of illegal trade worldwide, after drugs and weapons, the bureau said.
From June 26 to Sunday, the agencies inspected 252 artifacts at stores nationwide and found three outlets allegedly selling illegal products made using items from protected species, bureau Deputy Director-General Yang Hong-chi (???) said.
They found 105 ivory products and eight other pieces made of materials from protected animals at two antique stores near Xingtian Temple, he said.
One vendor said that their products were made from ivory taken from mammoth fossils — which is not regulated, as the species is extinct, not endangered — bureau Conservation Division director Hsia Jung-sheng (???) said.
However, inspectors said that the Schreger lines — microscopic tubes that can be seen as a crosshatching pattern in ivory — indicated that the ivory was from protected Asian or African elephants.
Another vendor said his products had been imported a long time ago.
However, he did not present an import permission document, video provided by the bureau showed.
Most vendors are willing to replace ivory with other products, as fewer people are looking to buy ivory products nowadays, the bureau said.
The use of ivory is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the bureau said, adding that people importing or exporting ivory should apply for permission.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Act (???????), protected wildlife and its products may not be traded, displayed nor exhibited in public areas without permission.
People who breach the regulations face a prison term of six months to five years and a fine of NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million (US$9,806 to US$49,031).