On May 9, 2014 Cambodian authorities confiscated 3 tons (6,000 lbs) of ivory entering the country through Sihanoukville Port. Customs officials found 108 bags of the illegal product hidden among beans in a large shipping container from Malaysia. Believed to be from South Africa, this is the largest amount of ivory ever seized in Cambodia. This is also the third major ivory seizure in Cambodia in 2014. It has become evident that ivory traders are targeting the country as a new transit route to China and Vietnam.
This bust comes only a week after the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) held its first training session with customs officials at Sihanoukville. The WRRT has been conducting training sessions with customs and border officials to help better identify illegal animal products and wildlife trafficking methods. Serving as Cambodia’s national task force for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), the WRRT is also cooperating with member countries to coordinate efforts to help detect ivory trade networks operating within Cambodia.
We would like to congratulate the Cambodia Customs Department for cracking down on the illicit trade. At a time when elephant populations across the globe are falling, this kind of commitment is crucial. Wildlife Alliance will continue its cooperation with the Customs Department in the framework of ASEAN-WEN in the months to come. We are looking forward to our next training with the Customs officers at Sihanoukville Port on May 20, 2014.