Thailand on Tuesday seized more than 300 kilogrammes of ivory originating from Malawi which was discovered on two Ethiopian Airline flights from Addis Ababa to Thailand’s capital Bangkok.
According to the Bangkok Post Online Newspaper, the latest haul of some 422 pieces of elephant tusks highlights the extensive international links boasted by wildlife gangs.
The packages stuffed with ivory, together weighing 330 kilogrammes were delivered in Thailand through Bangkok’s main airport.
According to a statement from Custom Department in Thailand, the parcels originated from Malawi’s capital Lilongwe.
“A Gambian man Sainey Jagne, who came to collect the packages on Sunday, was arrested and charged with smuggling banned wildlife products,” reads the statement.
The international trade in ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since the late 1980s after a precipitous decline in the population of African elephants.
But that has not stopped criminal gangs seeking to exploit the continued demand for the material in Asia.
Tusks and other body parts of elephants are prized for decoration as talismans and for use in traditional medicine across parts of Asia-despite a lack of any peer reviewed proof it works – with China being a major market for such products.
Thailand’s junta, which seized power in 2014, vowed to crack down on the trade.
In 2015, Thailand incinerated more than two tonnes of confiscated ivory, the first time the kingdom has taken steps to destroy part of its stockpile.