By Derek Baldwin
Interpol sent a strong signal on Wednesday to organised crime that it is stepping up efforts to stem illegal ivory trade shipments — such as the consignment of 259 elephant tusks intercepted earlier this week at Jebel Ali Port by Dubai Customs.
Interpol environmental crime officials and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) inked an agreement in Paris on Wednesday to end the mass slaughter of elephants for ivory by poachers who are making a killing in the rush for new white gold.
Estimates by IFAW suggest up to 50,000 elephants were slaughtered last year despite a 1990 ban on all international trade in ivory.
With only an estimated 500,000 African elephants on average and a further 52,000 Asian elephants left in the wild, the taking of roughly ten per cent of the world’s remaining elephant population every year is not sustainable, say experts.
And with prices of more than $100 (Dh367) per kilogram for ivory in African black markets ballooning ten-fold when shipped to underworld markets in China and Thailand, the demand is not likely to wane, say authorities.
“This agreement with IFAW will provide further momentum to efforts worldwide in identifying and dismantling the criminal organisations engaged in wildlife trafficking,” said Interpol’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin. More....