"Tea leaves" are $8M of illegal ivory & more
Singapore authorities have seized about 3.7 tonnes of illegal ivory - the second largest such seizure since 2002.
Declared as tea leaves, the shipment in two large containers from Kenya was passing through Singapore for Vietnam, the final destination.
Acting on a tip off, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) uncovered 1,783 pieces of raw ivory tusks, both whole and cut, concealed among bags of tea dust.
AVA also found four pieces of rhinoceros horns and 22 pieces of canine teeth, believed to be from African big cats.
The value? An estimated $8 million.
The illegal haul was estimated to be worth about $8 million. PHOTO: AVA
Elephants, rhinoceros and big cats like leopards and cheetahs are endangered species: International trade in ivory, rhinoceros horns and certain species of big cats' teeth are banned.
But the illegal trade continues - fuelled by increasing demand for endangered animal parts and poaching.
Ms Lye Fong Keng, deputy director of AVA's Quarantine and Inspection group, said:
"The Singapore government has zero tolerance on the use of Singapore as a conduit to smuggle endangered species and their parts and products.
"AVA will continue to cooperate and collaborate with partner enforcement agencies nationally and internationally to curb wildlife trafficking."
The maximum penalty for import, export or re-export of illegal wildlife is a fine of $50,000 per schedules specimen and/or up to two years' jail.
Anyone with information on illegal wildlife trade can contact AVA at 6805 2992 or provide feedback AVA’s website. All information will be kept in strict confidence.