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Photo: O País
Nothing like this had ever been seen before, O País reports today. Maputo Customs seized, according to ttheir estimate, more than a ton and a half of ivory tips, the greatest apprehension ever in the country.
A veritableslaughter of elephants is what it musttook to amass this amount of ivory, disguised in bundles of recyclable plastic bottles and detected by the Maputo port scanner around 11 a.m. today.
So far, no one has been detained in connection with the case, but according to the Press Office of the Tax Authority, the owner of the merchandise has already been notified.
The seized ivory tips correspond to the slaughter of about 90 elephants.
The ivory was hidden inside a container under plastic bottles destined for recycling, explained Tax Authority spokesman Fernando Tinga, cited by Lusa news agency.
The container was part of a set of six supposedly carrying plastic waste that were being inspected.
“It looks like it was a camouflage” to cover up the ivory tips, noted Tinga.
The ivory was seized during routine inspection work, when authorities realised that the merchandise in the containers did not correspond to what was inscribed in the documents.
The containers came from Beluluane, in Maputo province, and had Cambodia as their declared destination, according to AT.
“This only shows that this type of operation has no borders,” said Fernando Tinga, pointing to the reinforcement of surveillance as a critical element in the fight against poaching in Mozambique.
The latest reports from the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) indicate that between 2011 and 2016 Mozambique lost some 48 percent of its elephant population and is at risk.
ANAC is currently preparing the third elephant census to take place this year and which is expected to provide updated data on the situation of the animal in the country.
Last year, in total, the Mozambican authorities arrested 2,400 people suspected of involvement in poaching.