Ivory from nearly 300 African elephants was seized by officials in Singapore on July 21, marking the country’s largest ivory confiscation to date, the National Parks Board of Singapore said.
The National Parks Board said it worked alongside Singapore Customs and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to examine three Vietnam-bound containers, supposedly containing timber, that were coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and passing through Singapore.
A closer inspection of the containers revealed 8.8 tonnes (about 9.7 US tons) of elephant ivory, estimated to be worth $12.9 million, officials said. The board said 177 kilograms (about 390 US pounds) of ivory were previously captured in April.
Authorities also seized more than 200 bags containing 11.9 tonnes (about 13.1 US tons) of scales from giant pangolins, or “scaly anteaters.” Pangolins are among the most trafficked mammals in the world and their scales can be used in traditional Asian medicine, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The seized scales were estimated to be worth about $35.7 million, and thought to be from about 2,000 pangolins, the National Parks Board said.
The international trade of pangolin scales and ivory is prohibited, the National Parks Board said, adding that the animals are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora treaty.
The National Parks Board credited the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China for sharing information about the containers that led to the seizure.
The confiscated ivory and scales would be destroyed to prohibit them from re-entering the market, the National Parks Board said. Credit: National Parks Board of Singapore via Storyful