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Philippines Ivory Seige

  • Philippine customs officials have apprehended the largest ever shipment of elephant tusks into the country. It's worth over two million dollars.
    The smuggled cargo from Dar Es Salaam arrived in Manila last March under the guise of plastic materials in two container vans. The tusks from adult and baby elephants were broken into pieces, with some weighing as much as 25 kilograms. [Nestorio Gualberto, Customs Police Chief]: "Lately, we monitored that some brokers had cargo coming from Tanzania, which they declared as plastic waste materials. What kind of plastic materials can Tanzania produce? We suspected right away that these were elephant tusks." The shipment was consigned to a trading company which failed to claim it. Ivory trading is illegal in the Philippines and punishable by a fine of one million pesos and six years imprisonment. African and Asian elephants are protected under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, which the Philippines signed in 1981. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, more than 20,000 elephants are illegally slaughtered in Africa and Asia to meet demand for ivory products every year. Customs officials are still searching for three other 20-foot container vans suspected of carrying more elephant tusks. The tusks could be displayed in a museum.

    Category : News & Politics


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