Singapore to send 1.8 tons of raw ivory back to Africa

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Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority is sending back 1.8 tons of raw ivory to Africa for further investigations and enforcement actions there, it said on Tuesday.

The ivory was "inspected and quantity verified" by the authority and the African enforcement authorities on Tuesday in preparation for the return to Africa, it said.

The Singapore authority seized the shipment, estimated to be worth 2.5 million Singapore dollars (1.97 million U.S. dollars), on January 23 when it was in transit in Singapore.

The tusks were en route to another country from Kenya. They were packed in 65 gunny sacks and falsely declared as waste paper.

The authority said it has concluded its investigations and confirmed that no local importer was involved in the case.

It is working with the Kenyan Wildlife Service, Kenyan Police and the Lusaka Agreement Taskforce in returning the tusks to Africa.

The shipment is the second largest ivory seizure in Singapore since 2002.

Singapore is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and all African and Asian elephants are endangered species. International trade in ivory has been banned under the convention since 1989.

In Singapore, the maximum penalty for illegal trade of ivory is a fine of 50,000 Singapore dollars (39,370 U.S. dollars) per scheduled specimen and/or imprisonment of up to two years. The same penalties apply to any transhipment of ivory through Singapore without proper CITES permits from the exporting/ importing country.

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