Malaysia set to destroy a jumbo fortune in ivory


The Star Online

Date Published

GEORGE TOWN: A huge fortune in elephant tusks seized last year in Malaysia will be crushed under a road roller and then burned.

Estimated to be worth over RM80mil, the tusks could be turned into about RM500mil worth of ivory works of art, but Malaysia does not want a sen of it.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said they would be destroyed no matter what the value to show that the country condemns the ivory trade.

“The smugglers enter our country with the tusks from Africa and got caught. We are not the consumer. They treated us as a transit centre.

“The buyers are unknown,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the tusk would be destroyed in accordance with the international Convention on Biological Diversity, which Malaysia is bound to abide by.

According to National Geographic Society, the demand for ivory is fuelled only by its aesthetic quality as works of art, jewellery and items like billiard balls, door knobs and piano keys.

Earlier, Dr Wan Junaidi witnessed a memorandum of understanding between the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) and the Malaysian Veterinary Pathology Association (MAVP) at the ninth MAVP scientific conference at Olive Tree Hotel in Bayan Lepas.

The MoU serves as a consultative platform for both organisations to exchange expertise on wildlife diseases and reduce the spread of such disease and death among wildlife in captivity.