By Nuradilla Noorazam
The large amount of ivory shipped to Malaysia indicates that underworld elements are involved in the smuggling of the contraband.
Wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic deputy director for Southeast Asia Dr Chris R. Shepherd said small-time wildlife traffickers would not have the capacity to ship such large consignments of ivory across many countries.
"Wildlife crime should be treated more seriously and given a higher priority as there are indications that organised criminals are involved in the trade."
Past seizures of ivory by Malay-sian Customs officers, such as the discovery of 1,500 pieces of African elephant tusks in wooden crates late last year, were proof that Malaysia had become a prominent transit country for wildlife trafficking.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) lists Malaysia as one of eight countries identified as countries affected by the ivory trade.
Shepherd said stern enforcement by authorities could hamper efforts by wildlife traffickers utilising Malaysia as a transit point in the future.
"An example would be the case where a man in Kedah was caught with 22 tiger skins and a number of elephant tusks in his house. He holds the key that could open up opportunities for further investigations, as it gives us a chance to find out who is behind the trade." More....