- Malaysia fights for the elephants as they seized smuggled ivory at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport
- The ivories confiscated by authorities amounted to a total of RM 43.4 million
- The Malaysian government has stepped up its actions to combat the ivory smuggling in the country and encouraged the public to cooperate with them
The scale of ivory trade in Malaysia remains a serious concern not only for the county but also for the international community as more and more elephants are dying due to poaching for their ivories.
The Customs Department seized ivory estimated to be worth RM 10 million at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The ivories were believed to be from the Democratic Republic of Congo and will be brought to Turkey.
Earlier, the Customs Department reported that there had been 24 cases of ivory smuggling in the country which amounted to a total of RM 43.4 million.
Moreover, the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) was able to seize 216units of whole and partial elephant tusks and ivory-manufactured products.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) stated that widespread ivory trade in Malaysia has become a serious concern. However, CITES noted that Malaysia had no known internal market on ivory which makes it unlikely for the country to have an increasing demand on ivory goods.
Malaysian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi responded that Malaysia is being used as a transit hub for ivory smuggling due to the tightening of national borders that resulted from the recent increase in ivory seizures.
“Malaysia’s geographic location is central, allowing for the smuggled ivory to be transported to China, Thailand and Taiwan, which are the three main countries with the strongest demand for ivory,” he said.
Wan Junaidi further stated that Malaysia has developed the National Ivory Action Plan and the Malaysia Wildlife Enforcement Network to combat the smuggling of ivory in the country and other wildlife-related crimes.
“In addition, every case of ivory seizure is recorded and documented as government-held stockpile. Following that, Malaysia is obliged to report the government-held ivory stockpiles on Feb 28 every year to the CITES Secretariat,” the Minister added.
Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi emphasized that the government and the public should cooperatine in combatting the pressing issue in the country.
“For the time being, we will continue to cooperate with CITES and the relevant local and international governing bodies. The public are encouraged to report to Perhilitan should they come across any instances of suspicious activities which may involve endangered wildlife,” said Wan Junaidi. – Kami Media