Thai authorities, on February 25, displayed over a tonne of illicitly smuggled African elephant ivory and rhino horns seized at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, a haul described as a victory for better international intelligence sharing among wildlife officials. The last seizure was in late 2010.
The Customs Department said the 118 tusks and 50 additional cut pieces of ivory, along with three rhino horns weighing a total of 1,208 kg (2657.6 pounds) are valued at 52 million baht ($1.69 million). The tusks were found on February 23 at the airport in 11 boxes declared as “craftworks,” after a roundabout journey from Lagos, Nigeria via Doha, Qatar and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “Nigeria, despite having few elephants within its borders, is a major departure point for poached ivory from Africa,” said FREELAND, a Bangkok-based NGO that fights wildlife and human trafficking.
The seizure was the sixth law enforcement action against ivory smugglers since an intelligence sharing meeting between Thai and African wildlife/enforcement officials late last year.