Authorities in Vietnam have seized more than 600 kilograms of ivory imported from Africa, the government said on Monday.
The ivory trade is illegal in Vietnam, but wildlife trafficking remains a problem. Pangolin scales, tiger carcasses, rhino horns, and other animal parts are also smuggled into the country.
On Monday, customs authorities in the northern port city of Haiphong found nearly 130 kilograms of ivory hidden in a container originated from Africa. Last Thursday, about 500 kilograms of African ivory was found at Lach Huyen Port in Haipong.
This has been the largest discovery of smuggled ivory in Vietnam in more than four years. In October 2018, authorities seized more than eight tonnes of ivory and pangolin scales.
Ivory is a hard white material from the tusks of elephants. For thousands of years, ivory has been used for various purposes, including creating art and manufacturing luxury items.
The use of ivory has become a controversial issue in recent decades due to the rapid decline in elephant populations. Elephants are poached for their tusks, resulting in the reduction of elephant populations.
In response to this, many countries have enacted laws to restrict or ban the sale of ivory. In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) imposed a worldwide ban on the trade of ivory.
But still, the illegal ivory trade continues to be a major problem, and elephants are still being killed for their tusks. Countries such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam are considered to be some of the largest markets for illegal ivory.
According to recent estimates, approximately 415,000 African elephants are left in the wild and around 45,000 Asian elephants. Besides illegal poaching, the animals are also losing their habitat, which results in human-elephant conflict.