Singapore seizes record haul of ivory alongside pangolin scales in S$66m shipment

Singapore seizes record haul of ivory alongside pangolin scales in S$66m shipment

Singapore authorities on Sunday (Jul 21) seized S$66.2 million worth of elephant ivory and pangolin scales after they intercepted a transshipment bound for Vietnam. CNA's Farez Juraimi with more.

SINGAPORE: Singapore authorities on Sunday (Jul 21) seized S$66.2 million worth of elephant ivory and pangolin scales after they intercepted a transshipment bound for Vietnam.

Officials found 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales and 8.8 tonnes of elephant ivory in a container from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the National Parks Board, Singapore Customs and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority in a joint release on Tuesday.

The container was part of a shipment of three being transhipped through Singapore to Vietnam, and had been declared as timber.

NParks personnel showing the pangolin scales which were seized
Officials found 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

However "upon inspection, sacks containing pangolin scales and elephant ivory were found in one of the containers", said the news release.

READ: Commentary: Singapore’s proposed ivory ban would help save elephants

The ivory were documented and arranged in a row
Officials found 8.8 tonnes of elephant ivory. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

Packed into 132 bags were 8.8 tonnes of elephant ivory estimated to be worth US$12.9 million (S$17.6 million) - the largest seizure of elephant ivory in Singapore to date, according to the release.

About 300 African elephants were killed for this shipment.

READ: Nearly 13 tonnes of pangolin scales worth S$52 million seized in Singapore

The shipment also contained 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales, which were packed into 237 bags. They are estimated to be worth about US$35.7 million and came from 2,000 pangolins, the release said.

NParks personnel showing the size of the ivory
The ivory is estimated to have come from about 300 African elephants. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

The scales came from the Giant Pangolin, which is native to Africa. The species is considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Sunday's haul marks the third major seizure of pangolin scales in Singapore this year. Since April this year, the authorities have seized a total of 37.5 tonnes of pangolin scales.

In April, Singapore also seized 177kg of cut up and carved elephant ivory worth US$88,500.

Singapore authorities seize pangolin scales, elephant ivory
The scales came from the Giant Pangolin, which is native to Africa. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

"These latest seizures are testament to Singapore’s commitment to the global effort to stem illegal trade in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)-listed species, including their parts and derivatives," said the news release. 

"The seized pangolin scales and elephant ivory will be destroyed to prevent them from re-entering the market."

Both pangolins and elephants are protected species and international trade in elephant ivory and pangolins is not allowed. They are poached and traded for ornamental and medicinal uses. 

Under the Endangered Species (Import & Export) Act, the maximum penalty for illegal import, export and re-export of wildlife is a fine of up to S$500,000 and/or two years’ imprisonment. 

The same penalties apply to transit or transshipment of CITES-listed species of wildlife, including their parts and derivatives.

Source: CNA/nc(aj)

Bookmark