The National (AE)

Thousands of ivory tusks and contraband seized in Dubai

Police hand over 1,346kg of illegal animal parts to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to be destroyed

Some 1,350kg of illegal contraband, including rhinoceros horns and elephant tusks, are seized in Dubai. some of the ivory is painted black in an unsuccesful attempt to fool customs officers. Courtesy Dubai Police

Salam Al Amir

April 17, 2019

Thousands of ivory tusks and other contraband seized in Dubai are to be destroyed.

Police handed over the 2,272 confiscated tusks, along with rhinoceros and deer horns and logs of illegal sandalwood, to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to be destroyed on Wednesday.

The illegal items, which also included endangered animals that were being smuggled, were intercepted at Dubai’s airports within the past few months, said Brig Gen Mohammed Al Mazrouei, acting director general of Dubai airport security.

They were carried by transit passengers on their way to east Asian markets from African and European countries, Brig Al Mazrouei said.

Some of the 1,346 kilograms of contraband were painted by smugglers in an unsuccessful attempt to fool Customs officers.

Thousands of ivory tusks and other contraband seized by Dubai Police are handed over to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to be destroyed. Courtesy Dubai Police

Despite UAE authorities cracking down on illegal trafficking, ivory continues to be sold in black markets, often travelling through the Emirates to other countries.

Nearly 2,750 tusks hacked from African elephants were found in China on Tuesday in the country’s largest discovery of illegally imported ivory in recent years, The Times reported.

The country introduced a ban on all trade in ivory products last year, but demand for it and rhino horn is still high.


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A report issued by the US Agency for International Development last year revealed the UAE is a popular route for traffickers, because of its position between Africa and Asia.

It showed the UAE had the third-highest number of exotic animal smuggling cases worldwide between 2009 and 2017.

These included seizures of animals and animal products at Dubai airports, or at hauls further down the line, mainly in Asia.

Some of those overseas hauls were the result of international efforts involving Dubai Customs and police.

Under UAE law, people caught smuggling endangered animals or animal parts face jail sentences and fines.

Updated: April 18, 2019 01:55 AM