Vietnam Seizes 2,2 Tonnes of Mozambique Ivory

©IFAW - archive photo - Vietnam Seizes 2,2 Tonnes of Mozambique Ivory
Friday, 18 December, 2015
Cape Town, South Africa

More than two tonnes of elephant ivory were seized by Vietnam officials yesterday. The ivory had been shipped from Mozambique, concealed in sacks of beans in a shipping container.

And today, Thailand said it had seized 789 kilograms of ivory at Samui International Airport in Surat Thani Province on December 10th. The ivory had been smuggled from Nigeria via Singapore

The 2,2 tonnes of ivory in 835 individual pieces adds up to nearly seven tonnes the amount of ivory seized by Vietnam in just five large scale confiscations this year.

The global security agency INTERPOL recognizes large scale seizures of 500 kgs and more as an indicator of organized crime behind illicit ivory trade.

It is at least the second consignment of ivory seized by Vietnam this year identified as being from Mozambique.

In August in Da Nang, Vietnam law enforcers grabbed 3,903 tonnes of illegal ivory in three separate confiscations, and in late November a further 860 kilograms of ivory was seized smuggled over the border from Taiwan. Yesterday’s seizure was found concealed aboard a ship which had docked at the northern port of Hai Phong in late November. The container vessel was of Mozambique origin.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare said that while it applauded Vietnam’s tough stance against trafficking and the confiscation of illegal ivory and other wildlife, it was crucial that governments looked beyond seizures as the answer to disrupting trafficking.

“Seizures of ivory are always good news in the fight against poaching and illegal trafficking because they indicate improved levels of law enforcement, but seizures are the public face of a very tragic scenario that is killing up to 50,000 elephants a year and shows no sign of abating,” said Kelvin Alie, Director of IFAW’s Wildlife Trade Programme. The IUCN says the African elephant population currently stands at 470,000 down from 550,000 in 2006.

“Unfortunately their successes are only proving to highlight the extent of the problem. If we are to save elephants we need to address every link in the ivory chain. That means stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking and stopping the demand,” said Alie.

As one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities, valued at US$19-billion annually, illegal wildlife trade ranks fifth globally in terms of value, behind the trafficking in drugs, people, oil and counterfeiting.

Most illegal ivory is destined for Asia, in particular China, where it has soared in value as an investment vehicle and is coveted as “white gold”. Availability of legal ivory in China purchased form the stockpile sale in southern Africa in 2008 has, in turn, boosted demand encouraging illegal ivory trade and the poaching of elephant to meet market needs.

To date, more than 2,800 participants have attended IFAW’s Prevention of Wildlife Trafficking trainings across 81 training workshops in approximately 38 countries. Many of these have been conducted in partnership with INTERPOL.

Ends

The 2013 IFAW report, Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, documents the threat the illegal wildlife trade poses to elephants, rhinos and people.

 

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

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