The elephant tusks was hidden under plastic bottles being shipped for recycling, according to Fernando Tinga, a spokesman for the Tax Authority (AT). The container was one of six with plastic waste that were being inspected.
“It gives the impression that it was a camouflage” to cover up the tusks, Tinga said.
The ivory was seized during a routine inspection when the authorities realised that the merchandise in the containers did not correspond to what was written on the attached documents.
The containers had come from Beluluane, in Maputo province, and were bound for Cambodia, according to the documentation.
“This only shows that these kinds of operations have no frontiers,” said Tinga, stressing that stepping up checks was fundamental in combatting poaching in Mozambique.
The most recent reports of Mozabique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) indicate that the country between 2011 and 2016 lost around 48% of its elephant population, and that it runs the risk of being banned from international trade in products deriving from the species, due to a lack of clarity in the way the animals are managed.
ANAC is this year preparing a third census of elephants to update its information on the situation of the species in the country.
Last year the authorities arrested 2,400 people suspected of being involved in poaching.