Malaysia destroys seized ivory worth $20 million

Kuala Lumpur, April 14 (IANS) Malaysian authorities destroyed seized ivory worth some $20 million on Thursday, in the first-ever such public event to showcase its commitment to combat illegal wildlife trade.

Authorities have confiscated more than 4,000 pieces of ivory and various other wildlife species through coordinated efforts by international enforcement networks and public information, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

A total of 9.55 tonnes of ivory was destroyed on Thursday. The authorities said the disposal of confiscated ivory through crushing and incineration is the best way to keep the ivory out of the illegal market.

Wan Junaidi admitted that Malaysia had been exploited as a handy transit point for illegal wildlife trade.

“We are blessed with our strategic location and well developed facilities to support international trade and logistic demand,” he said, adding “However, these blessings also benefited the illegal wildlife traders as excellent point of entry, transfer and exit of the illegal wildlife products.”

Wan Junaidi stressed that his country strongly supports efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade and was serious in curbing illegal wildlife trafficking, especially the trade in ivory.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has conducted forensic sampling on several large scale seizures since 2014 to identify the origin of the ivory in a bid to confront the entire crime chain.

Malaysia is a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1978, and the country has enacted and enforced its own laws to meet its obligations under the convention.

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