Sh133m ivory disguised as wigs from Nigeria seized in Singapore

Singapore customs officials open cargo to display elephant tusks ferried as synthetic wigs from Nigeria on December 12, 2015. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The 255 tusks, weighing 505 kilograms, were found along with 324 kilograms of pangolin scales in an air shipment.
  • The seizure was the fifth-largest made in Singapore since 2002.

SINGAPORE

Singapore authorities have impounded half a tonne of elephant tusks in one of the largest ivory seizures made in the city-state in over a decade.

The 255 tusks, weighing 505 kilograms, were found along with 324 kilograms of pangolin scales in an air shipment on its way to Laos on December 12, Singapore Customs and the agriculture and veterinary agency said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The boxes were labelled as synthetic wigs and had come from Nigeria, the authorities said, adding that the shipment had an estimated value of $1.3 million (Sh133 million).

Trade in ivory and the endangered pangolin, a mammal that looks like an anteater, is restricted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but demand remains strong in parts of Asia, where these animal products are prized for their supposed medicinal value.

The seizure was the fifth-largest made in Singapore since 2002, and follows the seizure of 3.7 tonnes of illegal ivory earlier this year in a shipping container that listed the contents as tea leaves from Kenya.

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