The discovery of more than one and half tonnes of elephant ivory in Sri Lanka may point to the potential emergence of new trafficking routes.
Wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, reports that Sri Lanka Customs authorities discovered the 359 tusks amongst tree logs in a shipment labelled as “plastic waste”.
It was apparently the largest confiscation of ivory ever made in Sri Lanka.
The organization said that the action was made possible by a tip off from the World Customs Organisation’s Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific region (RILO-A/P) — highlighting the importance of global intelligence gathering and sharing.
They added that the incident could be evidence of the trade’s new smuggling routes, as it apparently originated from Uganda, shipped from Kenya, and was bound for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (a known hub for wildlife smuggling and laundering).
However, James Compton, the Asia Programme Director for TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, warned that this seizure in Sri Lanka raises concerns that illegal ivory traders are developing new routes through South Asia for their illicit trade.
“As existing transit countries for African ivory such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam increase their enforcement efforts, smugglers will adapt and seek other trans-shipping routes and substitute ports of call,” he said. More....