Cambodia Seizes Over One Thousand Elephant Tusks

file photo
file photo

Published Dec 16, 2018 9:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

Cambodia has seized over 3.2 tons of ivory from 1,026 elephant tusks hidden in a shipping container at Phnom Penh Autonomous Port.

The shipment, from Mozambique, was discovered last week after a tip off from the U.S. embassy.

Demand from China and Vietnam has meant Cambodia has become a key transit point for the illicit wildlife trade. The nation has made a number of high-profile busts over the past five years including the 2014 seizure of three tons of ivory at the port of Sihanoukville, the 2016 seizure of over one ton of ivory and other illegal wildlife products and the 2017 seizure of nearly a ton of tusks, also from Mozambique.

Earlier this year, the Environmental Investigation Agency released a report Exposing the Hydra: The growing role of Vietnamese syndicates in ivory trafficking documenting the findings of a two-year undercover investigation. Investigators successfully infiltrated several ivory trafficking syndicates operating in Mozambique, South Africa, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, building a detailed picture of how these criminal organizations are structured, how they cooperate with one another and how they also traffic other endangered species such as rhinos and pangolins.

The trade in ivory of Asian Elephants has been prohibited in Cambodia since 1994, and the country ratifed CITES in 1997. However, Cambodian legislation does not cover wildlife originating from outside the country, so domestic trade in African ivory is not yet prohibited under Cambodian law.