Container with 651 Tusk Pieces Headed to Dubai Discovered at Mozambique Port

What You Need to Know:

A shipping container with 651 pieces of elephant tusks en route to Dubai was intercepted at Maputo port on the 22nd of March by Mozambique’s Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) in conjunction with the nation’s Tax Authority (AT). 


According to local press, the tusks were hidden in the center of the container and surrounded by bags of corn. X-rays of the container at the port revealed the existence of the tusks and an investigation into the owner of the container as well as the customs broker is underway. 

A wildlife crime expert speaking to Mozambique Bio stated, “Based on the photos I had access to, and given the quality of the ivory, it must be not only from Mozambique, but also from organized crime in neighboring countries.”

The Details:

According to the Environment Investigation Agency, Mozambique is a ‘safe-haven’ for Chinese and Vietnamese organizations involved in the ivory trade. The country’s corruption, lack of protection of government ivory stockpiles, lack of inter-agency cooperation, and lenient penalties for those caught trafficking ivory, enables the illegal industry to boom in Mozambique. 

Additionally, with Dubai acting only as a transit point for ivory, the tracing of trafficking masterminds becomes more difficult and further complicates any attempt to crack down on poaching and trafficking from Africa.

A document from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on the ‘Implementation of CITES Provisions Concerning Ivory’ states, “There is no domestic ivory market in the UAE, therefore, illegal ivory confiscated in the UAE is meant for transit and doesn’t target the local market as there is no demand. It passes to other countries with demand for ivory. Therefore, most of the ivory confiscated in the UAE or in the country of destination passing through the UAE can be detected with the passengers as personal belongings or air to air. Given the internationally adopted procedures, the rule of customs and airlines in air to air passing shipments is limited to tasks that are agreed upon internationally to ease the flow of air traffic. Hence detecting these illegal shipments is more successful in countries of destinations or countries of source, as customs plays a much bigger role.”

CITES, or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is a convention in which 184 states are members, resulting in the regulation of trade in 38,000 species. 

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.


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