Friday, August 26, 2011

Malaysia Truly Boleh

August 26, 2011
Country exposed as major transit point after seizure of 1,000 elephant tusks

PETALING JAYA: A container of anchovies headed for Malaysia from Africa turned out to be no small fry. Hidden within the strong smelling anchovies were more than 1,000 elephant tusks.

The killing of more than 500 elephants for the tusks has now turned the spotlight on Malaysia as a significant transit point for the illegal elephant ivory trade.

Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (Traffic) South-East Asia senior programme officer Kanitha Krishnasamy said Malaysia had been named in the latest Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) report as “a country of concern”.

“Malaysia has progressively gained prominence in successive ETIS analyses as a transit point for African ivory because of a growing number of illegal shipments passing through its ports,” she said in a statement.

Foreign wires reported yesterday that more than 1,000 elephant tusks destined for Malaysia were seized by Tanzanian authorities on Tuesday.

AFP reported that 1,041 elephant tusks were hidden in a container of anchovies, in the hope that the smell would discourage closer inspection by the authorities.

Krishnasamy said the latest seizure “represented the death of at least 500 elephants”.

She said it was doubtful Malaysia was the end destination of these illegal shipments based on previous seizures in Thailand and Vietnam.

She urged the Wildlife and National Parks Department, Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the Customs Department to document all ivory stockpiles seized and report the matter to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Krishnasamy urged the Govern­ment to work with African nations to put a stop to the trade.

“If we do not act now, we will be contributing to the demise of the wild elephant population,” she added.

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