VIENTIANE, April 24 (Xinhua) — Lao authorities were investigating 4 tons of African Elephant ivory seized in Thailand reportedly bound for the land-locked Southeast Asian country, local media reported Friday.
An investigation team from the Department of Anti-Environmental Crime was probing the intended destinations and the smuggling network, department Director-General Major Khamfeng Vandixay told state-run media Vientiane Times.
He said investigations were underway based on revelations in Thai media as the department awaited official reporting from counterparts in Thailand and international police networks.
Laos was not considered an ivory consumer but rather a potential transit point for distribution to larger and wealthier neighbors, including Vietnam and Thailand, where items fashioned from elephant tusk continue to be in high esteem among some despite an international ban, he added.
The trade in African Elephant ivory was prohibited in 1989 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) with an aim of preventing the decline in the endangered species through poaching for the substance.