Singapore ivory crush must be backed up by action on the illegal trade of wildlife, says WWF-Singapore.
On Monday 13 June 2016 Singapore authorities crushed 7.9 tonnes of confiscated illegal ivory seized while in transit through Singapore. Singapore is the latest in a line of Asian countries to publicly destroy its illegal ivory stockpiles, following China, Thailand and Malaysia.
WWF-Singapore urges the Singapore Government to follow up the ivory crush with a scaling-up of their efforts to stamp out the illegal transit of wildlife products through Singapore.
“The ivory crush is a strong symbolic act which shows the Government’s will to tackle the serious issue of the persistent use of its transport hubs by the illegal wildlife trade’, says Elaine Tan, CEO, WWF-Singapore. “But we urge Singapore to further step-up its efforts to intercept shipments and prosecute those involved in smuggling ivory or other illegal wildlife products’.
From 2013 to 2015, Singapore reported five ivory seizures, accounting for more than seven tonnes of illegal ivory, confirming it as a key transit hub for the illegal ivory trade. Sixteen other shipments amounting to 4.1 tonnes of ivory, were slated for Singapore, or had passed through its ports and been seized elsewhere.
Singapore’s AVA conducted the ivory destruction event. The 7.9 tonnes of ivory were first fed into a rock crusher, the remains were incinerated before being taken to a landfill site at Pulau Semakau.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network, and WWF-Singapore call on Singapore and other governments destroying ivory to monitor the impacts of such events on market dynamics and consumer attitudes.
‘’We know little about how consumers and traders are responding to these very public symbolic acts, or how it may be impacting the poaching of elephants,” said Dr Chris R Shepherd, Regional Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia. “Acquiring such knowledge must be considered a vital part of overall efforts to tackle the elephant slaughter and illegal ivory trade.’’
Despite a ban on the international trade in ivory, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers. Tens of thousands of elephants are being killed every year for their ivory tusks. The ivory is often carved into ornaments and jewellery – China is the biggest consumer market for such products.