69 pieces of ivory seized in Napier
Sat, 28 Jul 2012 9:54a.m.
Sixty-nine pieces of ivory have been seized in Napier after a carved elephant tusk was intercepted by international mail workers in Auckland.
The tusk had been posted from France to a Napier house and did not have the required import permit, the Wildlife Enforcement Group says.
Investigators executed a search warrant at the home and found the other pieces of ivory.
Forensic tests would be carried out on the items, which included statues, carvings and pieces of tusk, to confirm they were made from ivory from endangered elephants, senior investigator Dylan Swain said. A ban on trading ivory was imposed in 1989 by 175 countries, including New Zealand.
A Napier man was being spoken to about the items, he said.
Mr Swain said countries need to work together to protect threatened species from extinction.
"African and Asian elephants are at high risk of extinction because poachers continue to kill them for their tusks despite a global ban on trading in ivory."
Sales of illegal ivory have been escalating and tonnes of ivory have been seized by authorities worldwide in the past few months.
There had been a surge in demand for ivory in Asia and this was believed to be fuelling the illegal trade in elephant tusks, Mr Swain said.
It is estimated there are around 600,000 African elephants and between 40,000 and 50,000 Asian elephants in the wild.
The maximum penalty for importing endangered wildlife specimens without a permit is five years' imprisonment and/or a fine up to $100,000.
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29/07/2012 1:14:19 p.m.
Well maybe give this person the maximum penalty and it may make other people think twice. Some people have small minds and don't care about where something comes from. An elephant has to die so someone can eat with ivory chopsticks.
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