THAI CUSTOMS SEIZE OVER 2 TONS OF BLOOD IVORY
Information just in confirms that customs officials in Thailand confiscated over 2 tons of blood ivory, shipped to Thailand from Eastern Africa and concealed in boxes of mackerel. Intriguingly the raid took place on a river and not one of the main ports or airports, suggesting that the shipment was already repacked and enroute to a neighbouring country in transit to its final destination. The illicit cargo, which by conservative estimate represents the lives of over 120 African elephant, was suspected to be enroute to Chinese buyers who apparently have used the Thai smuggling routes with impunity but may have to change tactics and routes now that the Thai authorities are determined to bring the blood ivory trade to an end. The catch represents the largest seizure of 2011 so far and is indicative that poaching on the African continent continues unabated and has in fact gathered speed in recent months, to satisfy the greed and hunger for ivory in China and other Far Eastern countries and where the kick started economy has left many ‘liquid’ enough to ‘buy prestige’, albeit at the expense of African wildlife.
In late 2010 a cooperation agreement was signed between several East African countries and Thailand to jointly ‘hunt’ for blood ivory consignments and other animal products and sent via Bangkok or Thai harbours to the buyers. Since the agreement was put into effect over 4 tons of ivory was detected and confiscated, but the lastest consignment only goes to show that once that happens, fresh orders for yet more ivory and elephant slaughter are being placed without delay.
China has so far not responded to requests from global conservation bodies to tighten existing laws or ban the possession of ivory and the processing of it and introduce harsh fines and long sentences, and by standing idle therefore aid and abet the cancer of poaching on the African continent.
Watch this space.