Report identifies Malaysia as major transit point for elephant tusk trade

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 03, 2011 11:10 hrs

Malaysia has been identified as a' country of concern' for being a major transit point for illegal elephant tusk trade, according to the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) report.

Records of confiscated ivory shipments showed several seizures had passed through Penang and Pasir Gudang, which were considered "high-volume" Malaysian ports.

The Hong Kong Government confiscated at least 794 African ivory tusks after they arrived by sea from Malaysia, the Star reports.

The seizure came after the earlier report, which alleged that Tanzanian Government had seized over 1,000 elephant tusks.

Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand had also seized ivory shipments, which had passed through Malaysian ports

Wildlife Monitoring Trade Network Traffic's Regional Director William Schaedla said stringent enforcement measures against elephant tusk trade in neighbouring countries could have led smugglers to venture through Malaysian ports.

"Smugglers tend to move to an easier' place. If enforcement in other countries heats up, then they will find a soft spot elsewhere," he said.

Schaedla called for measures to check the illegal trade by extending regional cooperation and exchanging information with Association of South East Asian Nations(ASEAN) members.

He also suggested that customs officers improve their communication mechanisms by using Interpol's Ecomessage database system.(ANI)

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