Malaysian customs officials on Monday seized more than 1,000 pounds of ivory that were exported from South Africa, according to a group against animal trafficking.
The ivory arrived in Port Klang, located in the western portion of the country, and customs officials determined that it came from Cape Town, which is a known hub for the illegal trade of ivory and rhino horns, according to TRAFFIC.
In an unusual twist, TRAFFIC said the ivory’s destination was Malaysia, instead of it being merely a transshipment point. Illegal ivory and rhino horn shipments usually stop off in Malaysia before being transported to other countries, namely China and Vietnam.
The 492 kilograms, or 1,084 pounds, of ivory were “individually bubble-wrapped and then packed in cardboard boxes,” TRAFFIC said. To hide them, they were hidden among trees, flooring materials, and were declared as polyester and nylon matting.
The ivory seizure is the third in the past six months at Port Klang.
“Although this is a small seizure, many elephants were needlessly killed,” Selangor State Customs Director Dato’ Azis Yacub told reporters on Monday, adding, “Our investigations will now focus on why Malaysia is being used as an end destination.”