Vietnam seizes over 6 tonnes of suspected ivory, pangolin scales smuggled from Nigeria

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Vietnam seizes over 6 tonnes of suspected ivory, pangolin scales smuggled from Nigeria

Suspected tusks and pangolin scales in a container declared as containing cashew nuts were sent from Nigeria to Vietnam’s Da Nang City on January 5, 2021. Photo: H.Q. / Tuoi Tre

More than 6.6 metric tons of suspected ivory and pangolin scales were seized by customs officers from a suspicious container recently shipped from Nigeria to Tien Sa Port in Da Nang, Vietnam.

The customs declaration claimed its contents to be cashew nuts, but upon opening the container, officers found suspected endangered animal parts, including 456 kilograms of ivory and around 6.2 metric tons of pangolin scales, local customs officials reported on Thursday.

The discovery was made during an inspection on Tuesday after customs officers at the port declared the container, which arrived at Tien Sa on January 5, as ‘suspicious.’

The Da Nang customs, in conjunction with other relevant agencies, have launched an investigation into the alleged smuggling.

They are currently tracking the enterprises and individuals responsible for the container.

Those involved in the case will be prosecuted, radio station Voice of Vietnam cited Tran Van Anh, deputy detector of the Da Nang Customs Department.

Customs officers are seen examining the ivory hidden in a shipment declared contain cashew nuts shipped from Nigeria to Vietnam’s Da Nang City. Photo: H.Q. / Tuoi Tre
Customs officers are seen examining the ivory hidden in a shipment declared as containing cashew nuts shipped from Nigeria to Vietnam’s Da Nang City. Photo: H.Q. / Tuoi Tre

Endangered wildlife products are strictly banned from being traded in, imported to or exported from Vietnam as they are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which the country has been party since 1994.

Several cases of smuggling wildlife products have been detected at Tien Sa Port in recent years, all shipped from Africa.

In October 2018, local customs officers found some six metric tons of pangolin scales and around two metric tons of tusks stashed among recycled plastics in a container also consigned from Nigeria.

In March 2019, more than 9.1 metric tons of ivory was discovered in a shipment delivered from the Congo, with the tusks hidden among timber.

In July 2021, a shipment declared as wood but containing 138 kilograms of rhino horn and around 3.1 metric tons of wildlife bones arrived at the port from South Africa.

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