Africa’s elephant population is still taking a beating, as the latest ivory seizure in Malaysia confirms.
On the 7 December, port authorities confiscated two containers of cargo declared as ‘wooden floor tiles’, after a tip-off that the containers were in fact an ivory haul.
After a thorough search of the containers yesterday, the state customs director, Dato Azis Yacub confirmed that within the specially designed timber crates (made to look like stacks of timber), were in fact 1500 elephant tusks, weighing in at an estimated 24 tonnes!
The haul is said to have originated in the West African country of Togo, a country often associated with ivory smuggling, before it travelled to Malaysia via Spain. It is speculated that the ivory was destined for China, where demand is increasing.
According to Azis Yacub, a local company is being investigated. If convicted, its staff members could face up to five years in jail or a fine of MYR500 000 (US$163 762), or both. A light punishment given the gravity of the crime?