By Sean Whyte [Letter to Editor\
Last week the Kenyan Wildlife Service intercepted yet another container load of ivory enroute from Uganda to Malaysia. The ivory represents another bloodbath of massacred African elephants. Terrible, though, this is, almost equally as shocking is the fact the container was on its way to Malaysia.
This must now be about 11 containers we know of, but there surely are many more that have evaded detection. Would those who trade in ivory (includes the mafia and terrorism groups) risk shipping this valuable shipment estimated to be worth at least US$500,000, to Malaysia, if they did not have a high degree of confidence the ivory would be not be confiscated on its arrival?
Last weekend also saw news break of a leading Kenyan politician accused by the Kenyan Times newspaper of playing a leading role in the ivory trade. How long will it be before we see similar news in Malaysia? Who enables ivory to still be sent to Malaysia and who still protects Anson Wong? One day, we will surely find out.
In the meantime the world waits to see if the admittedly spineless Standing Committee of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) will, this July, sanction Malaysia, thus bringing to a halt international trade in practically all wildlife to and from Malaysia.
The government of Malaysia cannot say it has not already been given a multitude of opportunities to stamp out the trade and associated corruption. And why is it still so fiercely opposed to destroying its stocks of ivory? Doing so would send a very powerful message to the ivory traders and terrorists, wouldn’t it?