Thursday, 23 January, 2020


Singapore seizes pangolin scales, ivory worth over $48m

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption The haul was Singapore's largest ivory seizure to date Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption The haul was Singapore's largest ivory seizure to date
Bennie Garza | 24 July, 2019, 13:49

In 2002, the Singapore authorities seized six tonnes of smuggled African elephant tusks and ivory worth about $1.5 million that were bound for Japan.

Singapore previously seized 177 kg of ivory in April.

The African elephant, poached for its ivory tusks, is now listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. It's the largest seizure of elephant ivory in Singapore to date, according to the National Parks Board, a statutory board of the island city-state's government.

Also found in the container were 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales and estimated to be worth about $35.7 million.

The same shipment also contained a massive haul of pangolin scales, Singapore's third major bust involving the world's most trafficked mammals this year.

They were found to contain 12.9 tonnes and 12.7 tonnes respectively, worth $52.3 million and $51.6 million.

In April, the country intercepted two separate shipments of pangolin scales in less than week. These are believed to have come from close to 2,000 Giant Pangolins and almost 300 African Elephants.

The elephant ivory, estimated to be worth $12.9-million, came from almost 300 African elephants, and was heading to Vietnam through Singapore from Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A closer inspection of the containers revealed 8.8 tonnes (about 9.7 USA tons) of elephant ivory, estimated to be worth $12.9 million, officials said.

Pangolin scales, made of keratin, are in demand in Asia for use in traditional Chinese medicine despite there being no proven medicinal benefit from their use.

A statement from the National Parks Board explained that the seizure came after a tip-off from China's customs department. The same penalties apply to transit or transhipment of CITES-listed species of wildlife, including their parts and derivatives, according to the statement.

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 500,000 Singapore dollars (about 366,569 USA dollars) and/or two years' imprisonment.

Singapore is a part of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which banned the trade of ivory globally in 1989.

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