8,800kg of ivory & 11,900kg of pangolin scales, worth S$66 million in total, seized at S’pore customs

300 elephants and 2,000 pangolins suffered due to man's greed and vanity.

Zhangxin Zheng | July 23, 2019 @ 12:12 pm


A total of 8,800kg of elephant ivory and 11,900kg of pangolin scales were seized in Singapore on July 21, 2019.

Largest seizure of elephant ivory to date

Three containers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo were being inspected while passing by Singapore en route to Vietnam.

The containers were supposed to contain timber, but were found to contain 132 sacks of elephant ivory and 237 sacks of pangolin scales instead.

Photo by NParks.

That’s about 8,800kg of elephant ivory from about 300 African elephant victims, and 11,900kg of scales from close to 2,000 poor Giant pangolins, worth about S$66.2 million in total.

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Customs, and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) were involved in the latest wildlife trafficking bust on July 21.

The seized ivory and scales were all destroyed.

This is by far the largest seizure of elephant ivory in Singapore.

Long overdue Ivory ban in Singapore

Wildlife trafficking is the fourth largest illegal trade globally after drugs, human trafficking, and counterfeiting.

Both African elephants and Giant pangolins are vulnerable species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

This means that if they are not protected from hunting and are not reproducing well, both species are likely to become endangered.

Their ivory and scales are made from keratin which is the same substance that human nails and hair are made of.

Singapore’s government has been mulling over an ivory ban since 2017.

Government considering complete ban on ivory sale in Singapore: Koh Poh Koon

In late 2018, a public consultation was held to seek Singaporeans’ opinions on such a ban, and overwhelming support was expressed.

In response to a follow-up question at Parliament on May 7, 2019, Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong updated that 99.9 per cent of respondents to the public survey supported the ban.

He added that NParks is still evaluating the feedback and will announce the ban soon.


AVA asks for feedback on whether S’pore should ban ivory sales. S’poreans go, “Really?”

WWF backs complete ivory ban in S’pore, calls for harsher penalties & reduced grace period

Top photo collage and gif from NParks

About Zhangxin Zheng

Zhangxin’s favourite pastime is singing Mulan’s soundtrack in the mangrove forests. She hopes to perfect the art of napping in a hammock in the mangroves without being drowned by rising sea levels.

Morning Commute

Interesting stories to discuss with your colleagues in office later