Singapore considering ban on sale of ivory

Channel NewsAsia 1 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Government is considering a ban on the sale of ivory, Minister of State for National Development Koh Poh Koon said in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 1).

The implementation details of a ban, including an engagement process with relevant stakeholders, are currently being worked out, he said in response to a question from Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng.

“This is part of Singapore’s broader commitment to tackle the illegal ivory trade and to support elephant conservation,” Dr Koh said.

The commercial import and export of ivory has been banned in Singapore since 1990. Non-commercial trade, for example for museum display and research, is permitted with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore’s approval.

In June last year, Singapore authorities crushed and burnt nearly 8,000kg of seized elephant ivory - estimated to be worth S$13 million - seized from illegal shipments.

It was the first time seized ivory had been destroyed in Singapore. Previous hauls were returned to the originating country, donated to museums or kept for education.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said then that the public destruction of ivory sent a “strong message” that Singapore condemns illegal wildlife trade.

- CNA/cy


S'pore to ban sale of ivory here
NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 1 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE — The sale of ivory here will be banned as part of Singapore’s commitment to tackle the illegal ivory trade and support elephant conservation, said Minister of State for National Development Koh Poh Koon on Wednesday (March 1).

The authorities will engage stakeholders and are working out details of the implementation, he told Parliament in response to a question from Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Louis Ng.

Dr Koh did not provide a timeframe for the ban on domestic trade to be introduced.

In the meantime, the buying and selling of ivory here is allowed. Since 1990, however, the commercial import and export of ivory has been banned, although non-commercial import and export – such as for museum display and research – is still allowed with the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority’s approval and documentation.

Singapore was recently flagged as a “country of primary concern” for its role as a transit point for illegal ivory trade from Africa to other Asian countries by wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic.

Through data from 2012 to 2014, Traffic placed Singapore in the same group as Malaysia, Malawi and Togo. It noted that the countries rarely made ivory seizures and were seldom implicated in seizures made by others.

But where there were seizures, the cases tended to involve large quantities. This group of countries had the greatest proportion of seizures that weighed 800kg or more, suggesting that the bulk of smuggled ivory was part of higher-level organised crime activity, said Traffic.

Singapore has handled 12 cases of illegal ivory import or transshipment in the past decade, with about 10 tonnes of ivory from countries such as Congo, Kenya, Nigeria and the United States seized.

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