Sri Lanka seizes Dubai-bound ivory

Sri Lankan authorities have seized 1.5 tonnes of African ivory marked as plastic waste and addressed to a buyer in Dubai, a customs official in Colombo said Wednesday.

File illustration photo shows officers from the Kenya Wildlife Services guarding seized ivory in Nairobi. Sri Lankan authorities have seized 1.5 tonnes of African ivory marked as plastic waste and addressed to a buyer in Dubai, a customs official in Colombo said Wednesday.

The container carrying 359 pieces of ivory had originated from Kenya and was going through the main sea port of Colombo when customs agents detected it following a tip-off, director Udayanath Liyanage said.

"We have confiscated the ivory under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) regulations," Liyanage told AFP. "The shipper has also given a wrong description of the cargo and violated customs laws."

He said they had informed the authorities in the United Arab Emirates and Kenya to take action against the shipper and the consignee after the discovery on Tuesday.

The illegal trade in ivory from African elephants is driven by Asian and Middle Eastern demand for the tusks used in ornaments.

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